Six Nations briefing: Pivac calls up duo to face the French

Tanya Simon
February 22, 2020

The in-form Northampton Saints playmaker failed a dressing room head injury assessment in Dublin.

The Six Nations championship returns with a bang this weekend, featuring three fascinatingly-poised matches with no outstanding favourite - and even Italy in with a chance of ending their 24-game winless run.

England thumped Ireland 32-20 in Dublin past year, then put 57 points on them in a World Cup warm-up at Twickenham - having lost their previous two Six Nations meetings.

"I know it's weird for you guys but it's certainly not weird for us because it's never been any different", Andy Farrell told reporters while admitting things were not quite so easy for other members of the family.

Eddie Butler: It appears the target area for tacklers has come down, touch wood, below shoulder height, and the hands of the ball-carriers are a little freer - only a little, but it might liberate Wales and France.

Wales are now ranked fifth, but they know that band one seedings for the next World Cup in France will comprise the top four. "It's our job to involve him in the game, and we're looking to do that as much as we can".

"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".

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Jones also sought to calm a backlash from the French camp that prop Wyn Jones' accusations of the France scrum cheating were a mark of disrespect.

However, if there is one opponent guaranteed to keep them grounded, it is Wales, who have won eight of the last nine matches between the sides, including October's World Cup quarter-final.

"This is the first step in the process of unifying the operations and media rights of the Six Nations and Federations - something we have been working on for a long time. We were penalised four times".

Only two of those eight victories have been by a double-figure margin - the average is 7.6 points.

Wales have not lost at home in the Six Nations since February 2017, something that will increase the pressure when they host France in the championship on Saturday, according to Welsh skipper Alun Wyn Jones.

Against Ireland last time out, they conceded four tries or more in a Six Nations match for only the second time since 2006. Does he throw in an uncapped novice such as Gabriel N'Gandebe against the likes of George North and Josh Adams?

Bernard le Roux leads the tournament for tackles made (44) and dominant tackles (8).

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