Beard back for Wales in Six Nations finale in France

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(Reuters) - Lock Adam Beard has been recalled to the starting lineup for title-chasing Wales in the only change for their final Six Nations meeting with France in Paris on Saturday, where the Grand Slam will be up for grabs.

Beard started the first three matches in the competition but was replaced by Cory Hill for the 48-7 victory in Italy last weekend.

He has been recalled to provide some extra muscle against the massive French pack.

"We think Adam has been playing well. He’s a big man and we’re up against big men," coach Wayne Pivac told reporters.

"He’s done well running the lineout. Cory has done well adding impact off the bench so we’d like that to continue."

Scrumhalf Gareth Davies has kept his place with fit-again Tomos Williams on the bench, the first time in this year’s Six Nations that Wales have kept the same starting number nine.

Victory will ensure Pivac's side are Six Nations champions, which would signal a stunning reversal of fortunes after a poor 2020 in which they lost seven of their 10 tests.

France have named an unchanged side from the team that lost 23-20 to England at Twickenham last time out.

"They’re a very good side. We know that from the two games last year," Pivac says. "I thought they played well and controlled that game last weekend for large parts. They’ve got quality right across the park.

"They’ve got great attacking threats and a good attacking kicking game. Our back three have some work to do."

Wales could be crowned champions even in they lose as they hold an eight-point lead over second-placed Ireland and are nine in front of France, who will have one re-arranged fixture remaining against Scotland.

Wales would need to secure a bonus-point in defeat and to deny France one to be assured of the title.

"It’s something we're aware of, the difference scenarios. But you prepare for a game of rugby and you look to come out on top," Pivac said.

Team:

1. Wyn Jones (34 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (81 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (56 Caps)

4. Adam Beard (24 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (captain) (147 Caps)

6. Josh Navidi (27 Caps)

7. Justin Tipuric (84 Caps)

8. Taulupe Faletau (85 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (61 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (91 Caps)

11. Josh Adams (31 Caps)

12. Jonathan Davies (87 Caps)

13. George North (101 Caps)

14. Louis Rees-Zammit (8 Caps)

15. Liam Williams (70 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (36 Caps)

17. Nicky Smith (38 Caps)

18. Leon Brown (16 Caps)

19. Cory Hill (31 Caps)

20. James Botham (5 Caps)

21. Tomos Williams (21 Caps)

22. Callum Sheedy (8 Caps)

(This story clarifies that Beard was replaced by Hill against Italy.)

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editin by Ken Ferris)