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Wales set for Six Nations finale in Paris

Dan Biggar, Alun Wyn Jones and Ken Owens will provide vast experience in Paris

Wales set for Six Nations finale in Paris

Warren Gatland has told some of the all-time greats of Welsh rugby to make the most of this season’s final Six Nations outing in Paris because it could potentially be their last championship appearance. 

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The Wales head coach has reinstated a number of his old guard for a final hurrah at Stade de France on Saturday night and has told them to “enjoy the occasion.” 

The 37-year-old Alun Wyn Jones returns in place of Dafydd Jenkins for his 67th championship appearance – two short of Sergio Parisse’s record 69 – while young guns Joe Hawkins and Mason Grady are stood down in the midfield to allow 112 times capped George North to join Nick Tompkins at centre. 

Dan Biggar takes over at No 10 from Owen Williams to win his 107th cap, while No 8 Taulupe Faletau will celebrate his 100th appearance for his country. 

“If I look at the squad there are up to eight players who are potentially playing their last Six Nations game,” admitted Gatland.  

“We’ve got to think about building for the World Cup this year, but also thinking about 2027. You need to bring in some younger players and give them time to develop.  

“The ideal scenario is you want to go to a World Cup with a squad of players in their mid to late 20s who have 40 or 50 caps. That’s some of the thinking behind the selection, behind guys who have been great servants to Welsh rugby but are probably involved in their last Six Nations game.  

“The message to those who might be playing their last Six Nations game is to enjoy the occasion and the moment. For a lot of them, it might be the last time they do that.” 

Gatland has removed six players from the side that won in Italy last weekend, who had 111 caps between them, and brought in half-a-dozen replacements who can boast 461 caps. 

The game will also see Gatland go head-to-head with one of his former right-hand men, Shaun Edwards, who nowadays is the French defence coach. 

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure he’ll be pretty pumped up this weekend. It was a fantastic performance by them against England,” said Gatland.  

“They’ll be disappointed by the loss in Dublin and they’ve probably been a little bit mixed. They were maybe lucky to get out of the game against Italy, where they could have lost.  

“They’ve had a couple of good performances – one against Scotland, although they could have potentially been in a bit of trouble with those cards had Scotland not also had a red card – but last week’s performance was definitely outstanding.” 

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Wales set for Six Nations finale in Paris
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