Six-Shooter: Your daily Six Nations news wrap
In today’s Six Shooter, team news from Wales and France, Dylan Hartley says he is unfazed by what Irish supporters think about him and we look at this weekend by numbers.
By Declan Whooley
Wales make three changes while France recall the pitbull
With both sides opening the campaign with a defeat, Wales and France, as expected, have freshened up their starting line-ups for Saturday’s clash in Paris.
Captain Sam Warburton has been ruled out through injury, though his place has come under increasing threat on the back of seven successive defeats. A stinger injury for Warburton sees Ryan Jones come into the side and he will also wear the skipper’s armband.
Ospreys team-mate Justin Tipuric comes in to take the number seven jersey in a change that will certainly not weaken the back row. The other change sees Richard Hibbard replace Matthew Rees at hooker.
Philippe Saint Andre makes just two changes from the side that performed poorly against the Italians, but they could make a serious impact. Well, one in particular. Joceline Suta takes over from the injured Pascal Pape in the second row, but it is the introduction of Mathieu Basteraud that is more noteworthy.
There is no mistaking the guy’s style of play and he is sure to leave his mark on the game…or even just the Welsh players.
Dylan Hartley not fazed by the Irish fans
Dylan Hartley is not the most popular rugby figure in this part of the world. While being labelled as ‘arrogant’ is the cross all English players have to carry until proven otherwise, he does little to dispel this notion. A series of off the ball incidents, including biting Stephen Ferris last season, means that he will play the role of the pantomime villain on Sunday. Not that it bothers him.
“I imagine that when I’m on the field I’m going to get a little more stick from the crowd but I won’t change my approach,” he said.
“You could probably compare it to the time I got a wind-up from another camp (Wales)… if anything it makes me slightly more focused.”
We will see how it pans out on Sunday, but expect him to be in the thick of the action one way or another.
This weekend in numbers
50 – the number of caps Welsh centre Jamie Roberts stands to win when he takes to the field in Paris.
8 – the number of successive victories England have enjoyed while playing on Sundays.
100 – Italian prop Andrea Lo Cicero will win a century of caps when he plays against Scotland. His 50th came against the same opposition.
13 – Ireland’s average margin of victory over England in the last four games against England in Dublin.