Wales drop Charvis

Wales drop Charvis
By Reuters

15/03/2006 at 16:03Updated

Holders Wales have dropped experienced flanker Colin Charvis for Saturday's Six Nations match against France at the Millennium Stadium. The British & Irish Lion does not make the bench and is replaced by Alix Popham who starts at number eight with cap

In the team named on Wednesday by caretaker coach Scott Johnson there are two other, injury-enforced changes from the side who drew 18-18 with Italy last Saturday.

Winger Mark Jones, who underwent knee surgery on Tuesday, is replaced by Dafydd James while Michael Phillips starts at scrumhalf instead of Dwayne Peel, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Scrumhalf Andy Williams and back rower Dafydd Jones are added to the replacements' bench.

Johnson said 33-year-old Charvis, a former captain with 84 Wales caps, was being rested after a gruelling season.

"Colin Charvis is an experienced player who offers a lot to this squad and we want to make sure we keep him around us this week, on Saturday and beyond," said Johnson.

"But he has played a lot of rugby this season - the best part of 20-odd games already - missing just one match for Newcastle in the Premiership and featuring for us at international level throughout the campaign so far.

"We are resting him, but he will remain part of the squad and we want him around to help lift the players."

Popham secured his spot with a superb display for Llanelli in their Powergen Cup semi-final victory over Bath on March 4, and when he replaced Charvis after 52 minutes against Italy.

"Alix deserves his chance to start and we have gone for Dafydd Jones on the bench for the energy and impact he will be able to offer," Johnson said.

The loss of Mark Jones is the latest of a long list of injury blows that have hampered Wales's season and contributed to their failure to retain their Six Nations title.

With one win, against Scotland, and last weekend's Italy draw they are in danger of dropping from first to last place if they lose to France and the Italians beat Scotland in Rome.

Johnson could be in charge for the last time if, as expected, he returns to Australia.

Team : 15-Lee Byrne; 14-Dafydd James, 13-Hal Luscombe, 12-Matthew Watkins, 11-Shane Williams; 10-Stephen Jones, 9-Mike Phillips; 8-Alix Popham, 7-Martyn Williams, 6-Michael Owen (captain), 5-Robert Sidoli, 4-Ian Gough, 3-Adam Jones, 2-Rhys Thomas, 1-Duncan Jones

Replacements: 16-Mefin Davies, 17-Gethin Jenkins, 18-Jonathan Thomas, 19-Dafydd Jones, 20-Andy Williams, 21-Nicky Robinson, 22-Gavin Henson.

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