Six Nations 2021: Wales have Beard to help scratch Grand Slam itch

By Sports Desk March 18, 2021

Wayne Pivac has brought lock Adam Beard back into the starting XV for Saturday's crunch clash with France as Wales aim to seal Grand Slam success.

Wales head to Paris to face the only side who can deny them the Six Nations title, with Les Bleus having two matches still to play.

But France, whose match against Scotland was postponed after a spate of coronavirus positives among Fabien Galthie's squad, saw their own hopes of a Grand Slam evaporate after a last-gasp 23-20 loss to England at Twickenham last weekend.

With ultimate glory still in sight for Wales, who also achieved the feat in 2019, Beard has been recalled in place of Cory Hill for the Stade de France showdown against the unchanged hosts. 

"We are all looking forward to Saturday and to the finale of the Six Nations," said Pivac, whose side beat Italy 48-7 last time out.

"We are four from four but know this will be a great challenge against a very good French side.

"We know we need to step up from our previous performances and we want to end the tournament with a performance we know we are capable of.

"We have had great continuity in selection throughout the tournament and that is shown once again with the selection for Saturday."

Featuring alongside Beard in the second-row will be Alun Wyn Jones, who has his sights set on a record fourth Grand Slam on what will be the 35-year-old's 148th appearance for his country.

While France's starting line-up is the same as against England, there are three changes on the bench, where Damien Aldegheri, Cyril Cazeaux and Cameron Woki have been replaced by Uini Atonio, Swan Rebbadj and Arthur Vincent.

France: Brice Dulin; Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Gael Fickou, Damian Penaud; Matthieu Jalibert, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Mohamed Haouas, Romain Taofifenua, Paul Willemse, Dylan Cretin, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Uini Antonio, Swan Rebbadj, Anthony Jelonch, Baptiste Serin, Romain Ntamack, Arthur Vincent.

Wales: Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Jonathan Davies, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, James Botham, Tomos Williams, Callum Sheedy, Willis Halaholo.

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