Jones to equal appearance record as Wales name team to face France

Wayne Pivac believes Wales are “privileged” to have Alun Wyn Jones, as the captain prepares to equal Richie McCaw’s record of 148 international appearances.

Wayne Pivac believes Wales are “privileged” to have Alun Wyn Jones, as the captain prepares to equal Richie McCaw’s record of 148 international appearances.

Jones will skipper Wales against France on Saturday night, as Pivac’s side warm-up for their final Guinness Six Nations match against Scotland next weekend.

It will be Jones’ 139th Wales appearance, with a further nine coming in the red of the British & Irish Lions.

“It is a fabulous achievement. He epitomises what a great rugby player is all about,” Pivac said.

“He is a true professional on and off the field and a gentleman of the game. On the field he leads by example and you can’t ask more of your captain and we are very privileged here in Wales to have him.”

Pivac has named a strong side to play France and there is a welcome return for centre Jonathan Davies, who wins his first cap since last year’s World Cup.

The centre suffered a knee injury and missed Wales’ first four Guinness Six Nations matches but returns to partner Nick Tompkins in the middle.

Rhys Webb gets the nod at scrum-half and partners Dan Biggar at half-back, while wingers Josh Adams and George North and full-back Leigh Halfpenny make up the back three.

Cory Hill makes his first Wales start since February 2019 and will pack down next to Jones in the second row behind props Rhys Carre and Samson Lee and hooker Ryan Elias – who starts in place of the injured Ken Owens.

Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau make up the back row, while hooker Sam Parry and winger Louis Rees-Zammit are set for debuts from the bench.

“The players are excited, it has been a long time, we can’t wait for Saturday,” Pivac added.

“We have six matches this autumn and the game against France helps us get back into our stride international rugby-wise.

“We have picked an experienced side and are up against a good French team so we want to start this autumn well and get on the front foot for the Guinness Six Nations fixture against Scotland.

“We have talked already about how fortunate we are to be going about our work on a daily basis. A lot of people can’t do that and certainly within our organisation there are a lot of people not back at work. From our point of view this Saturday is an opportunity to prepare for this tournament and for Scotland, but two, to put some smiles on faces and put on a good performance and make the nation proud.”


1. Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues, 8 Caps), 2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets, 13 Caps), 3. Samson Lee (Scarlets, 41 Caps), 4. Cory Hill (Cardiff Blues, 25 Caps), 5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, 138 Caps) (CAPT), 6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons, 21 Caps), 7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, 76 Caps), 8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath, 76 Caps), 9. Rhys Webb (Ospreys, 33 Caps), 10. Dan Biggar (Northampton, 83 Caps), 11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues, 24 Caps), 12. Nick Tompkins (Dragons, 4 Caps), 13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets, 81 Caps), 14. George North (Ospreys, 95 Caps), 15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets, 89 Caps)

Replacements: Sam Parry (Ospreys, Uncapped), Nicky Smith (Ospreys, 35 Caps), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues, 26 Caps), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues, 7 Caps), James Davies (Scarlets, 8 Caps), Gareth Davies (Scarlets, 53 Caps), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets, 19 Caps), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester, Uncapped).