Nine Lions start for Wales

Wales and Lions coach Warren Gatland has named nine Lions in his starting XV for the Six Nations clash with France. [more]

Nine Lions start for Wales

Wales and Lions coach Warren Gatland has named nine Lions in his starting XV for the Six Nations clash with France.

 Gatland, who was part of the Lions’ coaching staff on the 2009 tour of South Africa, has selected six Lions in his backline and a further three in the pack.

Those figures come despite injuries to fellow Lions Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, and Alun Wyn Jones, all of whom would have more than likely started in Cardiff had they been fully fit.

Lee Byrne, Leigh Halfpenny, James Hook, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, Stephen Jones, Adam Jones, Martyn Williams and Ryan Jones all start for Wales, while replacements Mike Phillips and Tom Shanklin take the number of Lions in the matchday 22 to 11.

Phillips is recalled to the squad for the first time since returning from South Africa having suffered ligament damage back in October but there is no place for fellow Lion Andy Powell after the back rower was thrown out of the Six Nations squad for a breach of discipline.

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Cardiff Blues scrum-half Richie Rees will make his first start for Wales following two replacement appearances against England and Scotland, while Saracens prop Rhys Gill and Sacrlets hooker Ken Owens will be making their international debuts if called upon from the bench.

Ospreys flanker Jonathan Thomas and hooker Huw Bennett replace Powell and the injured Gareth Williams, while Blues duo Bradley Davies and Deniol Jones form a new second-row partnership.

Wales

Lee Byrne, Leigh Halfpenny, James Hook, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, Stephen Jones, Richard Rees; Paul James, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Deiniol Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Martyn Williams, Ryan Jones (captain)

Replacements: Ken Owens, Rhys Gill, Luke Charteris, Sam Warburton, Mike Phillips, Andrew Bishop, Tom Shanklin

NB bold denotes Lion

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