Jenkins beefs up Wales pack

Gareth Jenkins reacted to Wales' 21-9 defeat to Scotland by making seven changes for Saturday's Six Nations clash with France, including four in a revamped pack. [more]

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Gareth Jenkins reacted to Wales’ 21-9 defeat to Scotland by making seven changes for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with France, including four in a revamped pack.

Wales lost the forward battle at Murrayfield and Jenkins has beefed up his pack in the hope of avoiding a fourth straight Test defeat.

Props Chris Horsman and Gethin Jenkins return to a new-look front row with Matthew Rees named the starting hooker in place of Rhys Thomas.

And Jenkins has reinstated powerful Newport Gwent Dragons lock Ian Gough into the second row, with Brent Cockbain named on the bench and Robert Sidoli dropping out of the squad.

In the back division, Tom Shanklin starts at outside centre, winger Shane Williams returns from injury and Lee Byrne takes over at full-back from Kevin Morgan, who broke his jaw at Murrayfield.

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Jenkins said: "When we looked at our performance against Scotland we all recognised how disappointing we were. It was not only a bad game but a poor performance from us and this selection reflects that.

"France have a big physical presence up front which we will need to combat, they operate a blitz defence and take their opportunities well in attack."

Wales lost their first scrum against an ordinary Scotland pack and had their lineout picked apart by expert spoiler Scott Murray, Jim Hamilton and Nathan Hines.

In response, Jenkins has recalled Horsman, Wales’ most destructive scrummager, at tight-head prop in place of Adam Jones.

Gough brings ballast into the second row and Cockbain, named in a Wales squad for the first time since damaging a hamstring against Fiji in November 2005, is a physical option off the bench.

Jenkins explained: "I think we were lightweight against Scotland. We didn’t start the game with any physicality and our scrum didn’t start well.

"We need to break the physical dominance France put on a game and we have strong views about how we want to take the game to them.

"We have to have a physical presence and to be able to match them."

But Jenkins, under pressure after only two victories in eight Tests, came in for immediate criticism for once again overlooking Colin Charvis.

The in-form Dragons flanker enjoyed a storming performance off the bench against Ulster and was a hot tip to be named in his first Wales squad for a year.

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