Big hitters return as Wales chase second spot

England must work out how to get the best out of back-row options including Chris Robshaw

England must work out how to get the best out of back-row options including Chris Robshaw

Dan Biggar will start at five-eighth for Wales as they look to finish second in the Six Nations when they host France at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

"I don't think he will go on tour in the summer", Gatland said.

Liam Williams capitalised on Francois Trinh-Duc's mistake to score the first try, but Les Bleus recovered smartly and Gael Fickou surged over to keep his side within touch. "It was an ugly performance in terms of it wasn't pretty, but we spoke beforehand that we just came here to do a job and the job was just to win and finish second in this competition".

But a combination of Welsh resilience and French profligacy meant the game ultimately went Wales' way, leaving France still without a win in Cardiff since 2010.

"Yes, there's disappointment among the players and coaches because once again it's a match we could have won", he said.

"We wanted to get closer to the best teams and we achieved that goal".

"We will start thinking about it in the next six weeks about which players we expect to take".

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A second Halfpenny penalty extended Wales' advantage, but France hit back in scintillating style through a try that owed everything to slick handling and lung-busting support play.

It was a poor miss from Trinh-Duc, who had drawn first blood by slotting a drop-goal in the fourth minute, but the fly-half was then at fault as the hosts struck back immediately.

Halfpenny missed the conversion, yet he soon found his range by landing an angled penalty as Wales took an 8-3 lead following a lively opening that showcased adventure from both sides.

Machenaud kicked a penalty to bring France within a point, but inexplicably spurned a chance to boot his team into the lead, Trinh-Duc instead going for the corner only to see his kick go dead.

Another Halfpenny penalty put Wales four points ahead as the home side benefited from France's lack of discipline.

After the interval saw the French continue to stamp their authority on proceedings, and they were awarded a penalty try after Wales wing Jasmine Joyce was sin-binned for tackling a player off the ball.

France dominated the early second-half exchanges, and a Machenaud penalty made it a one-point game as Les Bleus' impressive close-quarter handling game began making in-roads, giving Wales plenty of food for thought.

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