Evans backs Coombs to shine again

09th Feb 2013, 10:15

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Highly-rated: Andrew Coombs

Highly-rated: Andrew Coombs

Wales lock Ian Evans is backing his partner Andrew Coombs to repeat his impressive debut when they face France on Saturday.

Wales lock Ian Evans is backing his second row partner Andrew Coombs to repeat his impressive debut when they face France on Saturday.

Coombs received praise for his showing in the 30-22 loss to Ireland in the Six Nations opener in Cardiff last week and Evans - who has played against the Dragons star since their school days - believes he can .

"We played against each other many times in junior and youth rugby, so I knew just what he would bring and he delivered that last weekend," the Ospreys second-rower told the Western Telegraph.

"He more than put his hand up again for selection and deserves it."

28-year-old Coombs also has experience of playing as a back-rower, which Evans believes is beneficial at Test level.

"He's played in the back row and he has moved up to the second row," he added.

"I think we are lucky to have that kind of player with back row experience.

"It's a different ball game in the second row but I suppose it does add to his strength really."

Evans believes Wales must match France's forwards if they want to be victorious in Paris.

"They didn't have a good day out in Italy did they (France lost 23-18 to the Azzurri in Rome last Sunday)?"said the 2008 and 2012 Grand Slam winner.

"You saw what the Italians did to them and it's like any other game - you've got to win the battle up front.

"Their locks are a typical French pair. I think they are heavy, big physical second rows.

"I think that's what the French rely on, a big front five. It will be a physical battle."