Wales drop Phillips and move North to centre

Wales coach Warren Gatland has moved George North to centre and dropped Mike Phillips to the bench for Friday’s crunch Six Nations international against unbeaten France in Cardiff.

Phillips, who has won 82 caps and was the British and Irish Lions Test number nine in Australia last year, was replaced by Rhys Web, who will make his first Wales start, in the team announced by coach Warren Gatland on Wednesday.

In the absence through injury of Scott Williams, George North moves from wing to centre, with Liam Williams replacing North out wide.

One other change from the team thrashed 26-3 by Ireland in Dublin last time out sees fit-again lock Luke Charteris recalled in place of Andrew Coombs.

Wales are bidding to become the first team to win three successive outright Six Nations Championship titles.

But the heavy defeat by Ireland was a huge setback and a loss to France would all but extinguish Welsh hopes of an outright treble never before completed in the Championship’s various guises.

Wales

Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, George North, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams; Rhys Priestland, Rhys Webb; Taulupe Faletau, Sam Warburton (capt), Dan Lydiate; Alun Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris; Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard, Gethin Jenkins

Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Justin Tipuric, Mike Phillips, Dan Biggar, James Hook

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