Dan Biggar and Josh Adams will be available for Wales to face France in Cardiff on Saturday, but they may be peripheral figures in the backline after the prop Wyn Jones accused the Six Nations leaders of cheating in the scrums.
Wales have been frustrated by the way the scrums have been refereed in the opening rounds. Their forwards coach, Jonathan Humphreys, said he wanted his front row to be rewarded for driving straight and believed opposition tightheads were getting away with boring in.
“We want to be positive,” said Jones, the loosehead who was penalised twice early in the opening game against Italy. “We have a no-cheating mentality and show positive pictures. All you want [from referees] is consistency and while some of the calls have been frustrating, you have to play what is in front of you.
“France will have a big pack but probably ill-disciplined with that, especially at scrum time. We know they’ll hit and chase and cheat. That’s something we’re fully aware of and something we’ve got to combat on the day. They’ll look to push early and mess about. We’ll just concentrate on ourselves, nullify their indiscipline and hope they don’t get away with it.”
The match will be refereed by England’s Matt Carley who will be taking charge of his second game in the Six Nations having made his tournament debut in Rome last year when France won 25-14. The Wales head coach, Wayne Pivac, plans to speak to him about scrummaging later this week.
“The scrum is a work in progress for us and there has been some really good stuff,” said Humphreys, “but when you are dealing with tightheads who are angling across scrums it creates instability and problems. France like to exert dominance up front but the laws are clear: you must push straight, but there is inconsistency because there are still rewards for tightheads who angle across.
“I hope this is something that referees get harder and harder on. If everyone is forced to push square, you have stability and a contest, which we all want. Wayne will speak to the referee closer to the day. We have a lot of data about what he is keen on and he is a good referee. We are happy with the appointment.”
Biggar will continue at fly-half having completed all the return-to-play protocols following his clash of heads with Robbie Henshaw in the last round while the wing Adams, who scored three tries against Italy, has recovered from a hip injury he sustained in the same match.