British & Irish Lions

Biggar boost for Wales against France

Dan Biggar (Getty)
Dan Biggar (Getty)

Cardiff - Dan Biggar will start for Wales against France in the Six Nations on Saturday after recovering from a third head injury of this season.

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Biggar has come through his latest concussion protocols after bashing heads with Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw during Wales' 24-14 defeat in round two of the Six Nations.

The in-form Northampton Saints playmaker failed a dressing room head injury assessment in Dublin. He previously suffered head injuries in successive World Cup games against Australia and Fiji in Japan last autumn, but recovered to play in the quarter-final victory over France.

"Dan has been in full training since last week and has completed all protocols," the Welsh rugby union (WRU) said in a statement.

"All testing has been undertaken with the addition of a globally renowned concussion expert reviewing Dan's return (which was proactively sought by the WRU medical team). All steps taken have been with Dan's health at the forefront of decision making as player welfare is the number one priority."

Wales coach Wayne Pivac made two changes to the starting XV from the loss to Ireland, a result that ended any Welsh hopes of a back-to-back Grand Slam.

Scrumhalf Gareth Davies and backrow forward Ross Moriarty come into the side in place of Tomos Williams and Aaron Wainwright, who both fall to the bench.

"Gareth was unavailable round one and came off the bench last time out so he is full of energy and we are looking forward to him bringing his game on Saturday," Pivac said, with his side boasting a Six Nations record of 859 caps.

"Hopefully it will mean a lot this weekend."

Davies will partner Biggar at half-back, while Hadleigh Parkes and Nick Tompkins partner in the midfield with Josh Adams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny comprising the back three.

Moriarty comes into the side at blindside flanker alongside No 8 Taulupe Faletau and openside Justin Tipuric.

"Ross has impressed off the bench so far and brought a lot of energy and communication as well so he deserves an opportunity to start," Pivac said.

Jake Ball and captain Alun Wyn Jones continue in the second-row with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Dillon Lewis named in the front row.

On the bench Ryan Elias, Rob Evans and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover from the bench with uncapped second-row forward Will Rowlands and Wainwright completing the forward contingent. Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans and Johnny McNicholl provide the backline cover.

"We have changed around the second rows on the bench," said Pivac, who took over from fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland after the Rugby World Cup where Wales finished fourth.

"We are looking at creating competition there and Will has trained well and we are looking forward to seeing him out on that stage.

"We want to build on what we have done so far and are looking to be more accurate with what we do and improve on that aspect.

"Saturday is going to be a packed Principality Stadium, we know the atmosphere will be electric and it is set for a big day in Cardiff."

Teams:

Wales

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones

Substitutes: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Johnny McNicholl

France  

15 Anthony Bouthier; 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Gael Fickou; 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont; 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Francois Cros; 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux; 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille

Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Mathieu Jalibert, 23 Thomas Ramos

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