sport

Wales drop scrum-half Phillips

Mike Phillips has been dropped to the bench for Wales' Six Nations game against France in Cardiff on Friday night.

Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb will start his first international match in place of Phillips in one of three changes to the side beaten by Ireland a fortnight ago.

Luke Charteris missed that chastening defeat with a hamstring injury but is fit enough to reclaim Andrew Coombes' place in the pack, while Liam Williams comes in for the injured Scott Williams.

George North will move to centre in Scott Williams' absence, with the Scarlets' Liam Williams starting on the wing as the Welsh aim to wreck their visitors' Grand Slam chances.

"Friday is a massive game for us" Wales coach Warren Gatland said. "As a squad we have a huge amount of experience in this tournament and we will be calling on that this weekend. We see the game as a huge opportunity for us to put things right.

"Luke Charteris has been working really hard over the past couple of weeks and it's a big boost for us that he is back.

"I thought Rhys Webb played excellently for the Ospreys at the weekend. He comes in and gives us a different dimension and it's a great opportunity for him.

"George North moves into the midfield and he brings great footwork to the role and we were impressed when he went there against Australia in the autumn. His partnership with Jamie Roberts will be important as we look to stop the directness of France and Mathieu Bastareaud."

Wales: Halfpenny, Cuthbert, North, Roberts, L Williams, Priestland, Webb, Jenkins, Hibbard, A Jones, Charteris, A-W Jones, Lydiate, Warburton, Faletau

Replacements: Owens, James, R Jones, Ball, Tipuric, Phillips, Biggar, Hook