Rugby U


Six weeks ago today, the Six Nations got started in Cardiff. Today, the tournament is back in the Welsh capital for its conclusion. Ireland are deserved Grand Slam champions after a solid win over England, but neither France nor Wales will be seeing this as a dead rubber.

The last match was a bit of a long one, so I'm jumping in quickly after full time so that we're ready for kick off in less than ten minutes. Here's what's at stake today...

Being the final match makes the permutations somewhat easier for this one. A Wales win will see them finish second, a good result after being all but written off, and having to travel to both Dublin and London. Lose, and they'll be fourth. A France win would also see them finish second. Lose with a bonus point and they'll finish fourth, a bigger loss would leave them fifth.

This match last year was the infamous 100 minute match, won (just about) by France. However, that was France's only win against today's opponents in the last six years. Wales have won seven of their last eight at home, while France have lost seven of their last nine away. A win for Wales would be their 250th championship victory ,the second team to reach the mark after England.

Both teams have made changes, with Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones returning as one of seven changes to Warren Gatland's side. Mathieu Bastareaud captains France in the absence of the injured Guirado. Full teams follow.

Wales: Halfpenny, North, Williams, Parkes, Williams, Biggar, Davies; R Evans, Owens, Francis, Hill, Jones (capt), Tipuric, Navidi, Faletau. Replacements: Dee, Smith, Lee, B Davies, Shingler, A Davies, Anscombe, S Evans.

France: Fall, Fickou, Bastareaud (capt), Doumayrou, Grosso, Trinh-Duc, Machenaud; Poirot, Pelissie, Gomes Sa, Gabrillagues, Vahaamahina, Lauret, Camara, Tauleigne. Replacements: Chat, Priso, Slimani, Le Roux, Babillot, Couilloud, Beauxis, Palis.

Biggar's return to the side in particular has ruffled some feathers, with many suggesting that Anscombe deserves to keep his place after some good showings. Gatland's gone for experience by the looks of things there. Anthems done, and kick off is imminent. Ben O'Keefe is today's referee.

1' France kick off under the roof to get us started with the tournament's final match...

2' Wales have the ball in their own half, and are keen to spread the ball wide on their own 10m line. Enough of that, says Biggar, who puts up a high kick for North to chase.