Cuthbert axed as Williams stays

Date published: February 24 2015

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Wales winger Alex Cuthbert has been dropped for Saturday's Six Nations clash with France, as Liam Williams keeps his place on the wing.

Wales have made four changes with North, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris and Scott Baldwin all coming into the starting XV.

Charteris and Baldwin are promoted from replacement roles in the victory over Scotland to start in Paris whilst North and Lee return to the side after missing the second Six Nations encounter.

Baldwin and Lee join Gethin Jenkins to re-form the front-row that started in November's victory against South Africa.

Charteris, who has featured from the bench in the opening two matches of the Championship, starts alongside Alun Wyn Jones.

The back row remains unchanged with Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau lining up with captain Sam Warburton (who equals Ryan Jones' record of 33 matches as captain of Wales).

Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar continue their partnership at half-back with Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies named in the midfield. North comes into the back-three to join Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny.

"We have made some tough calls and there were some tight decisions but it is a very strong team we are putting out," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"We have a lot of strength in depth at second-row, it is a chance for Luke Charteris to get a start and we have been impressed with Bradley Davies as well. It is nothing against Jake but we have a lot of strength in depth and it's an opportunity to see the other two.

"It's a chance for Scott Baldwin to start as well, the last time he started he went well in the victory over South Africa. It is great to have Samson back available and it was a tough call in the back-three but we have decided to go with Liam and George.

"We felt we improved against Scotland and we are looking for another improvement this weekend. It's a tough competition to go on the road and ask for that but that is what we are looking for."

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Paul James, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Scott Williams.

Date: Saturday, February 28
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 18:00 local (17:00 GMT)
Referee:  Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Simon McDowell

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