Six Nations: Williams and Baldwin out as Wales name squad for France trip

By Sports Desk March 14, 2023

Injured Wales pair Liam Williams and Scott Baldwin are absent from Warren Gatland's 32-man squad for their final Six Nations fixture in France on Saturday.

Full-back Williams sustained a shoulder injury in Saturday's 29-17 win over Italy in Rome – the first victory of a troubled campaign for Wales.

Hooker Baldwin, meanwhile, suffered a pectoral problem in Italy and will join Williams on the sidelines, with his Ospreys team-mate Sam Parry being called up to the squad.

Keiran Williams has also been released from the squad after sustaining a groin injury while featuring for the Ospreys earlier this month.

Wales are training in Nice ahead of their trip to the Stade de France, with the team announcement scheduled for Thursday.

Opponents France retain a slim chance of defending their title, but they need to post a bonus-point victory over Wales before hoping Ireland are on the receiving end of an upset at home to England.

Full Wales squad:

Forwards: Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones, Gareth Thomas, Ken Owens, Sam Parry, Bradley Roberts, Leon Brown, Tomas Francis, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Rhys Davies, Dafydd Jenkins, Alun Wyn Jones, Jac Morgan, Tommy Reffell, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau.

Backs: Kieran Hardy, Rhys Webb, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell, Owen Williams, Mason Grady, Joe Hawkins, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams, Rio Dyer, Leigh Halfpenny, Louis Rees-Zammit.

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    French political leader Jordan Bardella criticised Kylian Mbappe for speaking out against the "extremes" in parliamentary elections before their game against Austria at Euro 2024.

    Striker Marcus Thuram made his position clear on the party, having urged people to "fight daily" to prevent Bardella's National Rally (RN) from gaining power in France, with a general election set to take place in July.

    Mbappe then later used his pre-match press conference to say he supported the same values as Thuram, though he did not call out the RN by name.

    "Kylian Mbappe is against extreme views and against ideas that divide people. I want to be proud to represent France, I don't want to represent a country that doesn't correspond to my values or our values," Mbappe said.

    He also added that "the extremes are knocking at the doors of power".

    Mbappe was immediately criticised for speaking up about the political picture in France, with Bardella left angered by his comments.

    "I have a lot of respect for our footballers, whether Marcus Thuram or Kylian Mbappe, who are icons of football and icons for youth," Bardella told CNews TV.

    "But we must respect the French, we must respect everyone's vote.

    "When you're lucky enough to have a very, very big salary, when you are a multi-millionaire, then I'm a little embarrassed to see these athletes.

    "Give lessons to people who can no longer make ends meet, who no longer feel safe, who do not have the chance to live in neighbourhoods overprotected by security agents."

    Mbappe, meanwhile, has other concerns, with reports suggesting the superstar will definitely miss France's game against the Netherlands on Friday after he suffered a broken nose in the 1-0 win over Austria.

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    France have confirmed that Kylian Mbappe suffered a broken nose against Austria on Monday but will not need surgery on the injury.

    Les Bleus were able to hold onto a 1-0 victory over Ralf Rangnick's side, courtesy of a first-half own goal by Max Wober, who turned in Mbappe's cross.

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    "He has returned to the base camp of the French team," the FFF said.

    "He will undergo treatment in the coming days, without undergoing surgery immediately."

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  • Mbappe injury leaves Deschamps concerned after France's Euro 2024 triumph Mbappe injury leaves Deschamps concerned after France's Euro 2024 triumph

    Kylian Mbappe suffering a late head injury marred France's Euro 2024 victory over Austria as Didier Deschamps was left concerned about the Les Bleus star.

    The Real Madrid-bound attacker sustained a blow to his nose after an aerial challenge with Austria's Kevin Danso before Mbappe was withdrawn on Monday.

    France held on for a 1-0 victory in Dusseldorf to move level with fellow Group D leaders Netherlands, but Deschamps will have to sweat over Mbappe's fitness before facing Ronald Koeman's men on Friday.

    "[His] nose is not good at all," the France head coach, who hit 100 wins in charge of his country with the victory over Ralf Rangnick's side, told reporters.

    "Even if it's just the nose, it's the big negative point for us tonight."

    Mbappe missed a gilt-edged opportunity in the second half as his wait for a European Championship goal continued.

    The former Paris Saint-Germain man remains without a goal from a total of 18 shots in the tournament, while he has registered 12 strikes from 39 attempts at the World Cup.

    Mbappe played the cross in for Max Wober's decisive first-half own-goal, however, as the centre-back's inadvertent error proved the difference in the pair's tournament opener.

    France are the first European side at major tournaments (World Cup/Euros) to benefit from 10 own-goals, four more than any other side – Germany are the next best on six.

    Deschamps was still satisfied with Les Bleus' work, though acknowledged their failure in front of goal.

    "Happy with what the players did even if we missed opportunities to double the tally," he added. "It was not perfect but we were solid.

    "We could have been more efficient offensively but it's good to start with a win.

    "There's quality and talent but being solid and working together is also important. We're not going to be over-confident, but it's a good start."

    N'Golo Kante was named as the Player of the Match after his efficient display in midfield, having only returned to the international setup for this tournament after a two-year absence.

    No France player made more successful tackles than Kante's two (level with Jules Kounde), while the midfielder's pair of interceptions marked the most for Les Bleus.

    "Everything was not perfect but we have the result we wanted, this is a good start," Kante said. "There are solid foundations, we have to be more efficient.

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    The defeat ended a run of seven games without a loss for Austria in all competitions (W6 D1), while it was only their second reverse in their last 17 matches (W12 D3).

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    "I think no one can accuse the team of not being engaged enough, not running enough. They gave their everything.

    "They didn't always make the right decisions with the ball. But it isn't easy, the French were aggressive, and played compactly and that wasn't a surprise."

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