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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 13:32 GMT
Wales leave out flanker Charvis
Wales flanker Colin Charvis
Charvis will not even be among the replacements
Wales have dropped Colin Charvis for the RBS Six Nations match with France in Cardiff on Saturday.

Flanker Charvis is replaced by captain Michael Owen, who makes way for Alix Popham to start at number eight.

Wing Mark Jones (knee) and scrum-half Dwayne Peel (shoulder) were injured in the draw against Italy so Dafydd James and Michael Phillips come in.

Wales will finish bottom of the championship table if they lose to France and Italy beat Scotland in Rome.

Charvis, capped 84 times, had started in every Wales match of this season's campaign and was voted man-of-the-match in last November's win over Australia.

But the 33-year-old does not even make the replacement bench to face France as caretaker coach Scott Johnson believes the Newcastle Falcon needs a rest.

Jonathan Thomas and Dafydd Jones - who last played for Wales in the autumn - will provide the back-row cover.

We've got to stick with what we've got and hopefully they'll get us across the line
Wales caretaker coach Scott Johnson

Popham replaced Charvis early in the second half of last Saturday's 18-18 draw with Italy.

Cardiff Blues scrum-half Phillips will also be starting a Six Nations match for the first time as he continues in Peel's absence.

Scarlets winger Jones was ruled out of contention after having minor knee surgery on Tuesday.

He tweaked his knee during a try-scoring appearance last Saturday but played on through the match. He is expected to play again this season.

There had been widespread calls for changes to the team, but Johnson said that options were limited and that any tampering had to be kept to a minimum.

He said Gavin Henson was not included in the starting XV because the Ospreys centre was still short of match sharpness after a long absence.

"I don't think it's in the best interests of the kid to start in a high quality Test match," Johnson told BBC Wales Sport.

"With the injury situation we've got, there are not many people putting up their hand, either through form or being fit to play.

"So we've got to stick with what we've got and hopefully they'll get us across the line.

"A lot of thought has gone into it, but we're happy with the side."

A crippling injury list includes Gareth Cooper, Gareth Thomas, Tom Shanklin, Brent Cockbain, Kevin Morgan, Iestyn Thomas, Ryan Jones and Chris Horsman as long-term casualties.

Luke Charteris is fit after a shoulder injury, but he has not played this year and needs game time and fellow lock Ian Evans has played just once this year after returning from an eight-week ban.

Utility back Ceri Sweeney is now back in full training, but his long-standing groin problem has kept him out of all the Championship so far.


Wales team to face France in Cardiff:
Byrne (Scarlets); James (Scarlets), Luscombe (Dragons), Watkins (Scarlets), S. Williams (Ospreys); S. Jones (Clermont Auvergne), M Phillips (Blues); Duncan Jones (Ospreys), R. Thomas (Blues), A. Jones (Ospreys), Gough (Dragons), Sidoli (Blues), Owen (Dragons, capt), M. Williams (Blues), Popham (Scarlets).
Replacements: M. Davies (Gloucester), Jenkins (Blues), J. Thomas (Ospreys), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), A. Williams (Bath), N. Robinson (Blues), Henson (Ospreys).



WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Wales caretaker coach Scott Johnson



SEE ALSO
Johnson plays down talk of change
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Peel could be out for the season
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BBC Wales Sport coverage
31 Oct 05 |  Wales


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