Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones to equal world record against France

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Six Nations Championship - Wales v France
FILE PHOTO: Six Nations Championship - Wales v France

(Reuters) - Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will equal the world record for most test caps when he leads the side against France in Paris on Saturday.

The lock will play his 148th test, which includes nine for the British & Irish Lions, to move level with retired former New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, and will have the chance to take the outright top-spot when Wales host Scotland in the Six Nations the following weekend.

"It is a fabulous achievement," coach Wayne Pivac said in a media release from the Welsh Rugby Union.

"He epitomises what a great rugby player is all about. He is a true professional on and off the field and a gentleman of the game.

"On the field he leads by example and you can’t ask more of your captain and we are very privileged here in Wales to have him."

He will form a second row partnership with Cory Hill, who makes a first start for Wales in more than 18 months.

The front row features Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias and Samson Lee, with Aaron Wainwright and Justin Tipuric at flank, and Taulupe Faletau in at number eight.

Scrumhalf Rhys Webb will feed flyhalf Dan Biggar, with the centre-pairing made up of Nick Tompkins and Jonathan Davies. Josh Adams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny make up the back-three.

"The players are excited, it has been a long time, we can’t wait for Saturday," Pivac added. "We have six matches this autumn and the game against France helps us get back into our stride international rugby-wise.

"We have picked an experienced side and are up against a good French team so we want to start this autumn well and get on the front foot for the Six Nations fixture against Scotland."

Teenage wing Louis Rees-Zammit has been named on the bench, but is likely to make his debut at some stage during the game.

Team: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Nick Tompkins, 11-Josh Adams, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Rhys Webb, 8-Taulupe Faletau, 7-Justin Tipuric, 6-Aaron Wainwright, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4-Cory Hill, 3-Samson Lee, 2-Ryan Elias, 1-Rhys Carre.

Replacements: 16-Sam Parry, 17-Nicky Smith, 18-Dillon Lewis, 19-Seb Davies, 20-James Davies, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Rhys Patchell, 23-Louis Rees-Zammit.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Toby Davis)