Warburton out of France clash

  • Last Updated: February 7 2013, 15:32 GMT

Wales captain Sam Warburton has been ruled out of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash against France in Paris.

Sam Warburton: Has a shoulder injury

The Cardiff Blues flanker has a stinger injury, a problem which normally affects the shoulder.

Ryan Jones takes over as skipper and wears the number six shirt, with Justin Tipuric starting at openside flanker.

Flanker Aaron Shingler misses out following last weekend's 30-22 defeat against Ireland, while one other change sees Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard in for Matthew Rees.

Jones will be leading Wales for a record 30th time at the Stade de France, while Hibbard returns from injury to partner Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones in the front row.

Interim coach Rob Howley has kept faith with the second row which lost to Ireland, with Jamie Roberts poised to win his 50th cap. Shingler replaces Tipuric on the replacements' bench and Lou Reed replaces Olly Kohn among the reserves.

Triple Grand Slam winner Ryan Jones has urged Wales to "be bold" when he leads them into battle in place of Warburton.

"As you get older, you have that experience to draw upon. You train and prepare as if you are playing, and when called upon it is down to you to do a job. Have boots, will travel," Jones said.

"Paris is a wonderful place to go - it's a great rugby arena. There is nothing quite like playing France in Paris. It's loud, it's noisy.

"Something we have tried to instil in the guys this week is to look forward to it, be bold and let's have a real good crack."

Wales have only triumphed in the French capital three times since 1975, and they again travel as underdogs despite Les Bleus' shock loss to Italy 24 hours after Ireland successfully stormed the Millennium Stadium.

"France are going to come out smarting, and it is going to be a pretty fierce opening, but you wouldn't expect anything else from France in Paris," Jones added.

"It's about us maintaining belief, keeping our composure and a cool head and making sure we play the way we train.

"I've been in changing rooms like the one last week, and I've been in successful ones as well. One thing we've said this week is about picking your chin up and knuckling down."

Jones, fully fit after being laid low by a bout of sickness that forced him to miss training on Tuesday, broke the Wales captaincy record earlier this season.

Now in his testimonial year at the Ospreys, Jones' experience will be critical for a Wales team seeking a first victory over another Test-playing country since they beat France to land the Six Nations title and Grand Slam almost 11 months ago.

Topping Wales' agenda is avoiding a repeat of their first-half horror show against Ireland. Trailing 23-3 at the break - and then 30-3 after 43 minutes - there was no realistic way back into a contest billed as a genuine 50-50 encounter before kick-off.

"Looking back at the (Ireland) game, from a coaches' and players' perspective the first-half performance wasn't good enough. It will not be replicated," Howley added.

"Our discipline let us down. You need to have field position and possession, and we gave Ireland a lot of field position.

"But when you look at that first half, it is all fixable. It is about us being accurate, executing and being disciplined. It has been discussed with the players, and I know we will start better this weekend.

"We've talked about the plan we want to play and how we implement it. You can't give any side a foothold in a game through your own lack of discipline and unforced errors.

"We've lost eight games in a row, but the wonderful thing about the Six Nations is every game is taken in isolation, but you make sure you learn from the previous week.

"We feel that the intensity and our mindset in training this week has been a little bit sharper. When you lose, or play like we did in the first half last week, it certainly focusses the mind."

Wales team: L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Toulon), R Hibbard (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), A Coombs (Newport Gwent Dragons), I Evans (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys, capt), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Bath), C Mitchell (Exeter), L Reed (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).


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