AWJ: France still huge without Pape

Date published: February 24 2015

Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones says that France won't lose any size even without the ballast of Pascal Papé in their second row on Saturday.

Papé was suspended for ten weeks for damaging Jamie Heaslip's back with his knee during France's Six Nations game against Ireland.

The former France captain, who stands at 195cm, is set to be replaced by the 200cm lock Romain Taofifénua. Jones is fully aware of France's strength and desire to dominate their opposition through their rolling mauls and set-pieces.

"They've lost Pascal Pape, but they are going to bring in Taofifenua so they're not going to get any smaller!" Jones told the South Wales Evening Post.

"It's never easy; French club sides are notorious for the driving maul and set-piece dominance, they take great pride in that and you can see that from the campaign so far.

"France have the capacity to turn it on and if they do they are dangerous. If you get out of the blocks and stay there you will be in good fettle against them, while if you are in a tussle and they go up a gear it's hard to match them."

As for Wales, Jones says that his pack are fairly pleased with their progress so far despite individual errors.

"We've lost a few line-outs and there have been a bit of individual error, but we are a pack of eight and have to keep working," he added.

"But on the whole we are pretty pleased. People will probably comment from outside and say we are poor, but as a group we know what we are trying to achieve.

"The positive is that we are growing.

"After the South Africa game (in November) I said that in a positive way the win didn't paper over any cracks and there are still things to work on. We are growing into the tournament. We are not the finished article and that's the realists that we are."