Six Nations 2014: Rhys Priestland dropped as Wales make six changes after defeat

 

A tale of two imperfect 10s. Rhys Priestland and Jules Plisson have paid the price for stuttering showings in last week's penultimate round of the Six Nations, with Warren Gatland and Philippe Saint-André both deciding the number was up for their struggling fly-halves.

Priestland's replacement by Dan Biggar is one of six changes Gatland makes to the Wales side battered by England last week for Saturday's final match against Scotland.

France did at least beat the Scots last Saturday but so lame was their performance that Saint-André has dropped four players for the potential title decider against the Irish.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has stuck to the XV who saw off Italy with no little swagger in Dublin and arrive in Paris as favourites to win the title.

In a bid to snatch the win that could open the door for his side, or more probably England, to take the title, Saint-André has recalled Castres's Rémi Talès in place of the ineffectual Plisson. Also back in what looks a much stronger XV are Dimitri Szarzewski, in for the dire Brice Mach at hooker, and Louis Picamoles in the back row.

Gaël Fickou starts for France, setting up a battle with Brian O’Driscoll in his final game for Ireland Gaël Fickou starts for France, setting up a battle with Brian O’Driscoll in his final game for Ireland (Getty Images)
The teenage star-in-the-making Gaël Fickou is given a start alongside Mathieu Bastareaud, setting up an intriguing clash at centre with Brian O'Driscoll, playing his last game for Ireland, and Gordon D'Arcy.

Two of Gatland's changes have been forced by injury – Leigh Halfpenny, facing surgery and four months out after dislocating his shoulder against England, is replaced by Liam Williams, while Mike Phillips is back at scrum-half for Rhys Webb.

But Priestland, Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones, three mainstays of the back-to-back title wins, are axed. Hibbard's poor lineout throwing set up a key England score at Twickenham, and Ken Owens is preferred against the Scots, who give a debut to the 23-year-old Edinburgh wing Dougie Fife.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn