France hardman, Serge Betsen, reckons Wales will be firing blanks if they drop Stephen Jones or Jonathan Thomas for next week's RBS Six Nations clash. Steve Hansen has promised wholesale changes after the heavy defeat in Dublin with the two Rugby World Cup stars places at threat, but Betsen admits he was hugely impressed by Jones and Thomas down under and reckons they are the dangermen that France must be wary of. "We know we are going to have to take Wales very seriously next week, especially in Cardiff," he said. "They proved to the world during the Rugby World Cup that they have a lot of strengths. Their games against New Zealand and England in Australia were amazing, I was shocked but also very impressed.
"I thought their outside half, Stephen Jones, stood out. He controlled the game and made good decisions. Their No.6, Jonathan Thomas, also impressed me. He was very fast and a strong runner and I think he is certainly a player of the future."
Betsen will return with his club, Biarritz, for the Heineken Cup quarter-final against the Scarlets at Stradey Park in April having already lost at Cardiff and Swansea on previous visits.
Despite Welsh woes in Dublin, the abrasive flanker, who has had more than a hundred stitches in his face, is expecting another tough battle next Sunday.
"Wales will be very disappointed with of last week's game against Ireland so they are going to want to prove how good they are next week against France," said Betsen. "Two years ago we were going for the Grand Slam but it was very difficult to get a win at the Millennium Stadium.
"It is always very difficult to win there and we will need to show a lot more commitment than we have done so far in this RBS Six Nations. If we do not then it will be very hard.
"We beat Italy last week but we were lacklustre and we realise that we must come up with something much, much better against Wales next week. This match is going to be key if we are going to win the Championship." Toulouse outside-half, Frederic Michalak, returns from a shoulder injury as the only change to the France squad that beat Italy 25-0 in Paris.
Despite drawing with Ireland in the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations, Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards believes the championship 'is still in our hands' as he prepares his side to face Scotland at Principality Stadium tomorrow.
Meet the members of the WRU's inaugural Youth Board - after an online selection process which saw a host of high calibre candidates submit video applications the WRU has made its first 15 appointments.The board is made up of individuals aged between 16 and 21, and will meet for the first time at Principality Stadium on Monday 15th February.
The Wales Women's team headed to Dare Valley Country Park on a team bonding exercise as the entire squad got together for the very first time in preparation for this season's Six Nations championship which kicks off on Saturday with a clash against defending champions Ireland, in Donnybrook.
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose