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.

Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn