Wales boss Robert Page wants clarity from Nottingham Forest over Neco Williams’ injury ahead of next month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers.

Full-back Williams was ruled out for the rest of the Premier League season after breaking his jaw against Brighton on April 26.

But Forest have not put a time frame on the 22-year-old’s recovery and Page wants to know the extent of the injury before naming his squad on Tuesday for games against Armenia and Turkey.

“I think there’s conversations to be had with ourselves and the club, both medical teams,” Page told BBC Wales.

“The squad is going to be announced next week.

“We will have conversations in the meantime and see where we are at with that before we make that decision.”

Page was critical of Forest in March when Williams’ team-mate Brennan Johnson withdrew from the squad to take on Croatia and Latvia, suggesting the striker had not been given enough help to be fit for international duty.

As reported by the PA news agency in March, Bournemouth forward David Brooks will be part of the summer camp after returning to action following cancer treatment.

Brooks made his first start since September 2021 against Manchester United on Saturday after four substitute appearances for the Cherries this season.

The 25-year-old was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2021 and announced he was cancer free in May 2022.

“I am pleased for him because he’s had a long journey,” said Page.

“I got a bit excited in March. I tried to get him on camp then because you want your best players around you. He definitely falls into that category.

“We knew we had to manage it. You don’t go through what he’s gone through and not have little setbacks.

“Bournemouth have been incredible with the way they have handled it and got him back up to speed. It’s great that we have got him available.”

Wales made a positive start to Euro 2024 qualifying with four points from two games, drawing away to World Cup semi-finalists Croatia before beating Latvia at home.

Glamorgan are unlocking opportunities for the next generation of South Asian heritage cricketers and supporters.

The Welsh county has put a coaching network in place to give young talent from ethnic minority backgrounds the best chance of following former England Under-19 spinner Prem Sisodiya into the first team.

Off the field, prayer rooms are being actively discussed, while Glamorgan hope to attract supporters of South Asian descent by establishing no alcohol areas as well as providing halal and vegetarian food options.

“We’ve got a joint strategy which has set out its intention of being the most inclusive sport in Wales and to reflect the diversities of the communities we have here,” said Mark Frost, community and development manager for Glamorgan Cricket and Cricket Wales.

“We’ve set out that whether you are a club or at Sophia Gardens (Glamorgan’s home), being a more diverse set up is actually better for you.

“We’re not doing it for box-ticking or to be politically correct, we’re doing it because it’s good for you and we want it to happen.”

In Wales, 60 per cent of clubs now have girls or women’s team offers – “a massive step forward”, says Frost – and ‘Street Cricket’ initiatives have been set up in locations throughout the country where clubs do not exist.

Glamorgan’s drive to produce players of South Asian heritage has seen coaches such as former Derbyshire and Middlesex paceman Ali Bukhari, Mohsin Arif, Imran Hassan and Mojeid Ilyas joining their ‘Talent Pathway’ scheme.

“That old adage ‘if you can’t see it you can’t believe it’ is a really important one,” said Frost, speaking at a Glamorgan junior programme event held in Grangetown, one of Cardiff’s most diverse communities close to the city centre.

“The coaching pathway for Welsh age-group squads is helping to contribute from both the coaching and mentoring of players from an ethnic minority background.

“We’ve also spoken to community leaders and said we’re really taking the subject of prayer rooms seriously, as well as having a good variety of food options and areas of no alcohol or low alcohol so people can find an area that suits them.

“We know that T20 and The Hundred has attracted a younger audience, a family audience, and we’ve not yet got the right number of people coming forward from an ethnic minority background.

“But we’ve seen growth in the club game over the last eight years from five to 12 per cent of juniors and seniors from an ethnic minority background, which is more than representative of the population of Wales.”

Sisodiya attended the schools’ event at the Grange Pavilion, little more than a six hit from where he was born and grew up.

He said: “Being of Indian heritage and to say I’m from Grangetown is massive to me.

“When I was growing up we were always playing on the streets and in the park with a bat and ball.

“To see how a facility like this has developed is amazing. I think if I’d had this as a youngster it would have pushed me even more.

“When my dad came over from India he played for the Welsh Asians, but there’s a lot more integration now and it’s important Glamorgan spot that talent at an early age.”

Alun Wyn Jones has called time on his illustrious international career after a world-record 170 caps.

With 158 appearances for Wales and 12 for the British and Irish Lions, Jones is 22 clear of any other player in rugby union history.

His influence extends far beyond sheer longevity and here, the PA news agency looks back at his record in the two famous red jerseys.

Wales

Jones made his international debut in 2006 at flanker, soon switching to lock where he quickly established himself as a mainstay of the team.

He won the Six Nations title five times, including three Grand Slams in 2008, 2012 and 2019, in the latter of which he captained the side and was named player of the championship.

His other titles came in 2013 and 2021 and his 66 appearances rank second in Six Nations history to former Italy captain Sergio Parisse, after Jones passed Brian O’Driscoll’s 65 games for Ireland during this season’s tournament.

He reached a century of Wales caps against New Zealand in 2016 and overtook prop Gethin Jenkins’ record of 129 when he appeared against Australia at the 2019 World Cup.

He went on to overhaul former New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw’s 148 record international appearances in October 2020 against France, with his 150th cap coming against Italy in March 2022 and his 158th and last against France this year.

He captained Wales on 48 occasions, one short of predecessor Sam Warburton’s record.

Jones scored nine international tries, the last remarkably coming back in 2016 against New Zealand in Wellington. He received only four yellow cards and no reds in his 158 games.

Jones’ retirement leaves New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock as the most-capped active international with 143 appearances, well clear of Australia’s James Slipper with 127.

British and Irish Lions

Jones first toured with the Lions in 2009, starting one Test against South Africa and featuring as a replacement in the other two.

He was ever-present again in 2013, deputising as captain for the injured Warburton in the series-clinching third Test against Australia, and in 2017 to become the first player in the professional era to play in nine consecutive Lions Tests.

He astonishingly was able to extend that record to 12 in 2021 as he recovered from a dislocated shoulder in the warm-up game against Japan to captain the tourists in all three Tests against the Springboks.

His dozen appearances match prop Graham Price as Wales’ most-capped Lion while only former Ireland lock Willie John McBride (17) and England scrum-half Dickie Jeeps (13) have won more Lions caps overall.

Jones, McBride and former Ireland centres O’Driscoll and Mike Gibson are the only players to have been selected for four or more Lions tours.

Including non-cap tour matches, Jones appeared 24 times for the Lions and scored two tries, both as a replacement against a Royal XV in 2009 and the Barbarians four years later.

Warren Gatland has hailed Alun Wyn Jones as “an incredibly special player” after world rugby’s most capped international announced his retirement from Test rugby.

The 37-year-old Ospreys lock played 158 times for Wales and made 12 British and Irish Lions Test appearances.

Wales flanker Justin Tipuric, who won 93 caps, had earlier announced on Friday that he would be stepping down from the international stage.

The players’ decisions come less than four months before Wales’ World Cup opener against Fiji in Bordeaux, and both had recently been named in a 54-player preliminary training squad for the tournament by Gatland.

Wales boss Gatland said: “I would like to congratulate Al on a phenomenal international career.

“His leadership, dedication and determination are second to none, and he has been an incredibly special player for Wales over the past 17 years.

“Every single time he has taken to the training pitch or put on the red jersey in a Test match he has given his absolute all, setting standards and leading by example.

“I am very fortunate to have been able to have worked with him with Wales and with the Lions.

“Al’s passion and commitment for his country are limitless, and he has been an important pillar for the game in Wales.

“He and his family can be immensely proud of all he has achieved and in knowing he leaves a lasting legacy in Welsh rugby.”

Writing on his Instagram page, Jones said: “Having been selected in this year’s preliminary Rugby World Cup squad, and after ongoing dialogue with the coaching staff and WRU (Welsh Rugby Union), I have decided to step away from the international game.

“So, after 17 years, I look back on special memories with Welsh greats and future Welsh greats.

“A huge thank you to the staff and players who have been part of my journey. I wish you well for the future.

“To the supporters, thank you for the support and making the most special occasions even more memorable.

“To the people closest to me, my family, I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Jones, who made his Test debut in 2006, is regarded as one of Wales’ greatest-ever players.

Time and time again, he produced inspired displays for his country, with a stellar career harvesting multiple Six Nations titles, Grand Slam successes and World Cup appearances.

He also went on four Lions tours – in 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021 – and skippered them in South Africa two years ago.

In a statement released by his agents WIN Sports Management, meanwhile, Tipuric said: “During the off-season I’ve had time to reflect on my playing career, and now seems the right time to step away from international rugby.

“It has been a privilege to put on the Welsh jersey and have so many great memories.

“I would like to thank all the players and coaches I’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years, and the wonderful support I’ve received from the Welsh public.

“I am looking forward to spending more time at home and putting all my energies into playing for my home region the Ospreys.”

Tipuric’s decision comes just a month after his fellow Wales back-row forward Josh Navidi called time on his career, being forced into retirement because of a serious neck problem.

Tipuric, 33, was an integral figure in Wales teams for more than a decade, helping his country win four Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams.

He was awarded his Wales debut by Gatland against Argentina 12 years ago and played in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups.

Tipuric also made one Test match appearance for the Lions on their 2013 tour to Australia.

Gatland added: “Justin has been an integral player in the Wales back-row since he made his debut back in 2011.

“He is quite quiet off the pitch, but his skill-set and his work-rate really set him apart from others.

“He doesn’t like a lot of fuss, but I would like to congratulate him on a great career. He has made an outstanding contribution to Welsh rugby.”

Wales feel the legacy left by Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and others at Euro 2016 has been integral to them qualifying for a first major youth tournament for over 40 years.

Later this month Wales will join the likes of England, France and Germany at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals in Hungary.

It is the first time Wales have qualified for a youth championship since a side featuring Mark Hughes reached the U18 European Championships in 1981.

“You talk about legacy and look at Euro 2016 (when Wales reached the semi-finals) and what players like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey did there,” said Wales U17 manager Craig Knight.

“These boys would have been eight, nine, 10 years of age at the time watching the tournament and that success would have resonated with them.

“It’s really real for those boys and the pathway is there to progress from a young age.

“It’s a real chance for these boys to perform on an international stage and that should motivate them and players at home.”

Wales have topped two qualifying groups to reach Hungary, finishing above the likes of Croatia, Scotland and Sweden.

The squad includes Leeds defender Charlie Crew, Manchester United striker Gabriele Biancheri and Plymouth winger Freddie Issaka, who became the Pilgrims’ youngest ever player at the age of 15 in August 2021.

Qualification has maintained the feel-good factor in Welsh football after the men’s national team qualified for the 2022 World Cup, their first for 64 years, after reaching the last two European Championships.

There has also been huge development in the women’s game and Wales reached a World Cup play-off for the first time in their history last October.

Knight said: “You have to keep aspiring to be the best you can, developing and evolving our environment.

“When we hosted the elite round of European qualifying we were staying at the same hotel as the first-team squad, who were flying out to Croatia and coming back for the Latvia game.

“The whole first-team coaching staff attended the Scotland game and watched training.

“Two of the boys took part in one of their training sessions because they needed an extra couple of numbers.

“Alfie Tuck, who scored the goal against Iceland, was stopped in the foyer by Aaron Ramsey, who congratulated him on his ‘great strike’.

“That’s how close we are, side by side with the senior side, and the boys feel it.”

Wales have been drawn against hosts Hungary, the Republic of Ireland and Poland this month.

The four semi-finalists will qualify for the 2023 FIFA U17 World Cup later this year, along with the winners of a play-off between the two beaten quarter-finals with the best record in the group stage.

Wales have omitted Joe Hawkins from their preliminary World Cup training squad.

Ospreys centre Hawkins has been capped five times since making his international debut last November, but doubts were cast over the 20-year-old’s eligibility following his decision to join Exeter next season.

Hawkins falls short of the 25-cap clause for players plying their trade outside Wales, and the Welsh Rugby Union had to decide whether he signed a contract with Exeter prior to making his debut.

If he had done, Hawkins would still be eligible for international rugby because he was an uncapped player.

Forward Will Rowlands has been named in a 54-player strong training squad for this autumn’s event in France.

Rowlands, who will leave the Dragons for Paris-based Racing 92 in December, has won 23 caps and could reach the qualifying mark in pre-World Cup friendlies against England and South Africa.

There was no room for Scarlets prop Wyn Jones, who was part of the British and Irish Lions squad in 2021, while Ospreys centre Owen Watkin also misses out.

Ten uncapped players have been named in the squad, including Montpellier prop Henry Thomas who won seven caps for England, with his last appearance coming in 2014.

Cory Hill has also been called up following the recent change in the selection criteria on exiled players.

The 31-year-old – who can play at lock or blindside – earned his last Wales cap in 2021 and currently plies his trade for the Yokohama Canon Eagles in Japan.

Leigh Halfpenny, who is due to leave Scarlets at the end of the season, is named in the squad alongside Gareth Anscombe, who missed the Six Nations through injury.

Anscombe faces competition at outside-half from Dan Biggar and Owen Williams, while Sam Costelow has also been named.

Wales will start their World Cup campaign against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10, with their pool also consisting of Australia, Georgia and Portugal.

Wales’ preliminary training squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Forwards: Rhys Carre, Corey Domachowski, Kemsley Mathias, Nicky Smith, Gareth Thomas, Eliott Dee, Ryan Elias, Dewi Lake, Ken Owens, Keiron Assiratti, Tomas Francis, Will Davies-King, Dillon Lewis, Henry Thomas, Adam Beard, Ben Carter, Rhys Davies, Cory Hill, Dafydd Jenkins, Alun Wyn Jones, Will Rowlands, Christ Tshiunza, Teddy Williams, Taine Basham, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Josh Macleod, Jac Morgan, Tommy Reffell, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Backs: Gareth Davies, Kieran Hardy, Rhys Webb, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar, Sam Costelow, Owen Williams, Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn, George North, Joe Roberts, Nick Tompkins, Johnny Williams, Keiran Williams, Josh Adams, Alex Cuthbert, Rio Dyer, Cai Evans, Leigh Halfpenny, Louis Rees-Zammit, Tom Rogers, Liam Williams.

Wales appointed Gareth Jenkins as their new head coach, replacing Mike Ruddock who resigned from the post earlier in the year, on this day in 2006.

Ruddock had won the Grand Slam with Wales a year earlier, but was succeeded by Jenkins, who signed a two-year contract to incorporate the 2007 World Cup.

Wales Rugby Union chairman David Pickering was part of a five-man panel that recommended Jenkins for the position.

Pickering said: “What shone through for us was Gareth’s fantastic passion and vision for the game. He is a coach of the highest calibre and he has had success over many years with Llanelli.

“We, as a board, are absolutely delighted. He is the right man at the right time to take Wales forward. We went out to seek the best man for the job – it is what we said from day one – and we know we have got the best person for the job.”

A firm favourite of the Welsh supporters, Jenkins enjoyed success with Llanelli and was assistant Wales coach when they were crowned 1994 Five Nations champions.

Additionally, he helped Ian McGeechan mould an unbeaten midweek team during the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

However, Jenkins’ reign in charge lasted just 20 Tests, winning only six games before his dismissal in September 2007 following a disappointing World Cup campaign.

Wales had beaten Canada and Japan in their group, but lost their decisive match against Fiji, meaning they did not reach the quarter-finals of the competition.

Following Jenkins’ departure, Warren Gatland was then appointed as Wales boss and immediately led the side to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2008.

Gareth Bale bade an emotional farewell to Wales fans after his retirement, telling the supporters who "make it so special" they "are Welsh football" on Tuesday.

Rob Page's side made it four points from two games in Euro 2024 qualifying after Kieffer Moore scored in a 1-0 victory over Latvia at Cardiff City Stadium.

Wales fans were met by a familiar face prior to kick-off as Bale, who announced his retirement from professional football in January, spoke to the crowd to say his final farewell.

"I just want to say what an honour it has been to represent this country and play in front of the best fans in the world," he said.

"You've supported me and my family through the lowest of the lows and the highest of highs. I can't thank you enough."

Bale has been central to Wales' successes on the international stage, leading his country to their first European Championships in 2016, in which they reached an unlikely semi-final before defeat to Portugal.

The former Real Madrid winger scored in all three group-stage matches at that tournament, before Wales and Bale returned to the same competition five years later and progressed to the last 16 at Euro 2020.

A first World Cup appearance in 64 years followed for Wales as they made it to Qatar, with Bale scoring their first goal at the tournament in a 1-1 draw with the United States.

That campaign ultimately ended in an early exit and disappointment, but Bale urged Wales fans to get behind their side as he moves from the pitch to the stands to become a supporter.

"It's been the biggest pleasure playing in front of you for my whole career," he added. "Obviously I'm going to miss playing in front of you, but make sure you support the boys.

"You, the fans, are Welsh football, you make it so special, you make it what it is. I'll be cheering on like you lot, and hopefully I'll see you soon in the future. Thank you."

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of structural change to the governing body.

An extraordinary general meeting was called by the WRU on Sunday, with 282 clubs eligible to vote on proposals to reform how rugby union is run in Wales.

The EGM came after Wales players had threatened to strike ahead of their Six Nations match with England due to contractual disputes, while the organisation has also faced allegations of sexism and misogyny.

Those allegations resulted in the resignation of former chief executive Steve Phillips, with Nigel Walker stepping in on an interim basis.

Of the 252 votes cast at Sunday's EGM, 245 were in favour of the resolution to change the governing structure of the WRU. 

Luka Modric has reaffirmed his commitment to Real Madrid amid rumours he is wanted by Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr.

The 37-year-old is into his 11th campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu, during which time he has won 22 trophies, but he is due to be out of contract at the end of the season.

He has been touted as a possible target for Al Nassr, who sensationally signed Cristiano Ronaldo in December following his release from Manchester United.

But when probed on his future while away on international duty with Croatia on Friday, a frustrated Modric made clear his priority is to agree fresh terms with Madrid.

"My wish is known: to stay at Real Madrid," he said at a pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's meeting with Wales. "I believe and hope that it comes true. 

"The rest of what's said is just assumptions and rumours. I repeat the same thing for the hundredth time: I hope and believe that I will stay at Real Madrid."

Modric, who has previously said he wants to feel as though he has deserved a new deal, also rubbished claims Madrid have asked him to retire from Croatia duty.

"Short and clear – no," Modric said when that suggestion was put to him.

The former Zagreb and Tottenham midfielder is in line to earn his 163rd cap for Croatia when they face Wales in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier in Split.

Having elected not to retire following Croatia's World Cup semi-final defeat to France, Modric will overtake Drazen Ladic as his country's oldest ever player.

"I didn't know that before the conference and I don't know if it's good or bad!" Modric said. "I feel great with the national team and I'm glad to be here. I feel happy when I'm here.

"We are all focusing on the Wales game. Hopefully we can get a positive result and take that confidence to Turkey.

"The most important thing is that we win tomorrow. We know we are the favourites and are expected to win, but football is unpredictable and you need to be at 100 per cent."

Warren Gatland saluted the "real character" demonstrated by Wales in their Six Nations defeat by France at Stade de France.

Gatland's side concluded a disappointing campaign, in which they finished fifth, with a spirited display, rallying back from 34-7 down before eventually succumbing 41-28.

George North, Bradley Roberts, Tomos Williams and Rio Dyer all crossed, but the visitors still suffered defeat, the first time they had done so in a Six Nations match when they had scored four tries.

Nevertheless, Gatland heaped praise on his players' efforts in Paris.

"I thought we showed some real character," he said during his post-match press conference. 

"We started the game well. We were positive in how we wanted to play. Accuracy has been hurting us. We worked hard for our tries, and we gave them a soft one.

"I'm proud of that performance because we dug in, and it could have got away from us. The bench helped, and we've been critical of that over the last few games.

"There was no real change in the message. It's just about being brave. We expected France to kick more, so that allowed us to play more.

"In the second half, the variation in our game management was better. Sometimes, we overplayed, but I was pleased with the ambition."

Attention now turns to the Rugby World Cup later this year with Wales joined by Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal in Pool C. 

Despite their recent struggles, Gatland and captain Ken Owens are confident their nation can compete with the best. 

"We'll surprise some teams in the World Cup by how good we will be," the coach said. "We've taken some steps in the right direction. How we stop allowing tries and easy points, if we tidy that up, that's how you win games."

Owens added: "We knew [the Six Nations] was going to be tough with the transition of new coaches coming in and some new combinations.

"But we have built and got better as the competition has gone on. We have just got to keep tight, keep working and look forward to our time together leading up to the World Cup.

“I've seen enough in camp to think we will get it right. The more time we spend together, the more we get it right. We will have some tough times in camps, which will be enjoyable.

"We will raise some eyebrows at the World Cup."

France kept their Six Nations title hopes alive with a 41-28 victory over a spirited Wales at Stade de France.

Les Blues boosted their championship quest by earning a bonus point to displace Ireland at the summit of the table, and they will be crowned champions if the latter fail to beat England later on Saturday.

Damian Penaud scored twice while Jonathan Danty, Uini Atonio and Gael Fickou also crossed for the hosts, who claimed their 17th win in 18 Tests.

Meanwhile, George North, Bradley Roberts, Tomos Williams and Rio Dyer went over for the visitors but, despite the bonus point, they have now lost their last five meetings with France.

Wales had scored the fewest points in this year’s championship, but they made a purposeful start in Paris, as a lengthy spell of pressure culminated in North going under the posts in the eighth minute. 

But France responded just two minutes later. Romain Ntamack embarked on a dangerous burst before offloading to Antoine Dupont, who found the unmarked Penaud for his 25th international try. 

After Thomas Ramos kicked the hosts into the lead, they stretched their advantage in similar fashion six minutes before the break. This time, Danty was on his own to cross in the corner after his team-mates brilliantly worked the ball from left to right.

France built on their momentum by crossing twice within 10 minutes of the restart. A neat move culminated in Atonio's first international try, before Fickou rounded off a series of sharp passes that carved open the Wales defence.

The last six meetings between these sides in the Six Nations had been decided by five or fewer points, and Wales ensured a degree of respectability on the scoreline with Roberts and Williams cutting the deficit to 34-21. 

Les Bleus thwarted any hopes of a dramatic turnaround as Penaud went over in the corner, yet the visitors had the final word with Dyer racing away in the dying moments.

Ireland can make it a glorious farewell to the Six Nations for record-chasing captain Johnny Sexton as they chase a Grand Slam on Saturday, with England their visitors.

It will be Ireland's title and a clean sweep of wins if they get the better of Steve Borthwick's team at the Aviva Stadium, while Sexton's next points will make him the leading scorer in championship history. He stands level for now with former team-mate Ronan O'Gara on 557 points.

Celebrations could already be in full swing in Dublin before kick-off in the unlikely event of Wales upsetting France in Paris earlier in the day.

France are the only team who can deny Ireland Six Nations glory now, trailing by four points going into the final round of matches.

Bonus points could yet be a factor in the final reckoning, but Ireland will be optimistic they can take that out of the equation by getting the better of an England side who were thrashed last week by Les Bleus.

Scotland face Italy in the day's opening game, before attention turns to the race for the trophy.

Here, Stats Perform runs down key aspects to look at in the three games, with the help of some standout Opta data.

FRANCE v WALES

FORM

Fabien Galthie's France team were so impressive at Twickenham last week they brought a tear to the coach's eye. That 53-10 drubbing in London showed France at their best, and they have won each of their last three Six Nations matches against Wales.

The tide has turned in the rivalry, given France had lost seven of the previous eight battles between the sides in the competition. After last year's Grand Slam, France will believe they can ramp up pressure on Ireland by getting the win at the Stade de France, having won nine of their last 10 Six Nations home matches, including each of the last four.

Wales stopped a six-game run of defeats in the Six Nations by beating Italy 29-17 last time out, to the relief of coach Warren Gatland. It was their longest run without a Six Nations victory since a seven-game sequence in 2006 and 2007, when they lost six and drew one.

There are areas where Wales are still doing well. For instance, they have conceded the joint-fewest turnovers of any side in this year's Six Nations (44, level with Ireland), and only Ireland (30) have won more turnovers than Wales (23). However, it would be a surprise if France do not ramp up the pressure on Ireland with a comfortable win and perhaps a bonus point into the bargain.

ONES TO WATCH

France will look to wings Damian Penaud and Ethan Dumortier to trouble Wales. Five players in this year's Six Nations have a 50 per cent or better tackle evasion rate among those who have faced 20 or more attempted tackles, and Penaud (79 per cent) and Dumortier (51 per cent) are among them.

For Wales, Taulupe Faletau will win his 100th cap and become the eighth man to reach that landmark for the team. Veterans George North and Alun Wyn Jones are among those coming into the starting XV, with Gatland giving the old-stagers a chance to potentially sign off their Six Nations careers in style.

IRELAND v ENGLAND

FORM

Ireland have won their last two Six Nations clashes with England, scoring exactly 32 points in each of those games, and the men in green have bagged 13 wins from their last 23 encounters with this weekend's opponents.

After finishing strongly last year, Ireland are on a seven-game winning run in the Six Nations, and an eighth win in a row would be a record for the team.

That would be cause for celebration alongside the Grand Slam, which would be a third for Ireland in the Six Nations era after 2009 and 2018 clean sweeps. They are chasing a fifth Six Nations title in all, and a seventh Triple Crown in this six-team era.

England's defeat to France last time out was their heaviest ever in the championship, so they have recalled Owen Farrell after dropping the captain, as coach Borthwick looks for a major response.

This game could yet be tight. Ireland (37) and England (34) have conceded the fewest penalties in this year's Six Nations, and they have achieved the highest share of territory per game (England – 60 per cent, Ireland – 59 per cent). Something has to give.

ONES TO WATCH

Sexton scored seven points against Scotland last weekend to move level with O'Gara, so his first kick at goal on Saturday will be a big moment. The record has been in his sights since the start of his final Six Nations, and the 37-year-old should clinch it on home soil.

Dan Cole is poised to win his 100th Test cap for England. He starts among the replacements, ready to become just the fourth player to reach a century for the England men’s team, after Jason Leonard, Ben Youngs and captain Farrell.

SCOTLAND v ITALY

FORM

The days of this fixture being a wooden spoon decider are gone for now, with Scotland much improved in recent years. Italy, too, are a stronger side than they have been for a good while, so they will be frustrated to have lost four from four so far.

Scotland have won each of their last seven Six Nations matches against Italy, their longest winning run against any nation in the championship. Their last Six Nations loss to the Azzurri was a 22-19 setback at Murrayfield in 2015, which was Italy's seventh win over the Scots in the championship. Italy have had just six wins against all other teams in the championship combined.

Italy's recent record in the Six Nations is truly dire, losing 40 of their last 41 games, with the exception among those defeats coming on the final weekend of last year's championship, when they won 22-21 in Wales.

ONES TO WATCH

Scotland's Matt Fagerson has made the most tackles of any player in the 2023 championship (70), while team-mates Jonny Gray (37), Jack Dempsey (32) and Luke Crosbie (32) are the only players to have made 30-plus tackles without missing one. Fagerson, Gray and Dempsey feature this weekend. Their prowess could be key as Scotland look to cope without injured backs Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg.

Italy's Juan Ignacio Brex and Paolo Garbisi are two of three players to have provided a championship-high six break assist passes in this year's championship, matching Ireland's Mack Hansen.

France will welcome Uini Atonio back from suspension for the final game of their Six Nations campaign against Wales, who have made six changes for their trip to the Stade de France.

Atonio was given a three-week ban following a high tackle on Ireland hooker Rob Herring in last month's 32-19 defeat in Dublin – the only loss of France's campaign.

That reverse in Ireland means France have only a slim chance of defending their title on Saturday, as they need to post a bonus-point win over Wales before hoping England can upset Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

Coach Fabien Galthie described Atonio – who will win his 50th cap against Wales – as an "indisputable starter" after bringing him in for Dorian Aldegheri, who has a groin injury.

Meanwhile, Romain Taofifenua will replace injured lock Paul Willemse in the hosts' only other change from their crushing 53-10 win over England at Twickenham last week.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made six changes ahead of the game, in which Taulupe Faletau will win his 100th cap.

Fly-half Dan Biggar, centres George North and Nick Tompkins and lock Alun Wyn Jones are among those recalled after last week's win over Italy in Rome.

Louis Rees-Zammit and Aaron Wainwright have also been brought in, with Jac Morgan and injured full-back Liam Williams among those to make way.

"I think France last weekend put in probably one of the best performances I've seen in a long, long time," Gatland said.

"They're the number two team in the world. They bring a really physical approach to the way they play and they've tended to start well.

"We've got to go out there and start well, make sure we're in that arm wrestle with them and give ourselves that opportunity."

Teams:

France: Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Ethan Dumortier, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Thibaut Flament, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Bastien Chalureau, Seckou Macalou, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet.

Wales: Louis Rees-Zammit, Josh Adams, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Tomos Williams, Owen Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.

Aaron Ramsey has been appointed Wales captain after Gareth Bale announced his retirement from football in the aftermath of last year's World Cup campaign.

Former Real Madrid forward Bale retired from professional football at the age of 33 in January, having led Wales into their first World Cup campaign since 1958 in Qatar last year.

Having won a record-breaking 111 caps for his country, Bale will be succeeded by the man joint-seventh in their all-time appearance list – former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder Ramsey.

Ramsey moved to France in search of regular minutes following a frustrating loan spell at Rangers last term, and has made 21 league appearances since joining Nice on a free transfer last August.

The 32-year-old already has experience of captaining Wales after being named skipper by Gary Speed in 2011, though Chris Coleman opted to hand the armband to Ashley Williams one year later.

The announcement came as boss Rob Page named a 24-man squad for Wales' opening Euro 2024 qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia later this month, with the team looking to qualify for a third-consecutive edition of the tournament.

Page named four uncapped players in his squad for those fixtures, namely midfielders Jordan James and Ollie Cooper, Fulham youngster Luke Harris and striker Nathan Broadhead.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.