AAP Rugby

France hit back at Welsh cheating claims

By AAP Newswire

France coach Fabien Galthie described Wales prop Wyn Jones' allegations that Les Bleus would cheat at the scrum in their Six Nations clash on Saturday as a lack of respect towards his country.

Jones said he hoped France would not get away with bending the rules at the scrum.

"It's a lack of respect towards our scrum, towards our team, towards French rugby, towards our nation," Galthie said after naming his team on Thursday for the game in Cardiff.

"In the first two matches, their scrum collapsed 13 times and was penalised six times. We were penalised four times," the former France captain added.

"France will have a big pack but probably ill-disciplined with that, especially at scrum time. We know they'll hit and chase and cheat," Galthie added.

France manager Raphael Ibanez backed his coach, saying his players had been working closely with referees to abide by the scrum regulations.

"It was a blatant, childish attack," he told reporters.

Ibanez also criticised the way Wales were handling flyhalf Dan Biggar, who has been named in the team after suffering his third head injury of the season.

"We could also question the fate of their flyhalf who has been knocked out several times since the World Cup but has been going through (concussion) protocol after protocol managed by the Welsh federation," the former France hooker said.

"We hope it's been as efficient as possible in the interest of the player's health."

The last game between the teams was won 20-19 by Wales in last year's World Cup quarter-finals and Les Bleus have not prevailed in Cardiff since 2010.

Gael Fickou will switch from centre to winger to help out the injury-hit French for the clash.

Fickou, the most capped player in a rejuvenated French squad, is covering for the absences of Damian Penaud, who has not recovered from a calf injury, and Vincent Rattez who broke his fibula in the 35-22 win over Italy.

French team:

Anthony Boutier, Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Gael Fickou, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont, Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon (capt), Francois Cros, Paul Willemse, Bernard Le Roux, Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille. Replacements: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, -Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, Baptiste Serin, Mathieu Jalibert, Thomas Ramos.