Wales unchanged for Six Nations finale against France

Wales' wing George North (C) makes a break during the Six Nations rugby union match against Ireland at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on March 10, 2017

Wales will field an unchanged side against France in their final match of the 2017 Six Nations, it was announced Wednesday.

Interim head coach Rob Howley has retained the same starting line-up that beat Ireland 22-9 at home last week for Saturday's match in Paris.

If Wales win -- and England beat Ireland in Dublin on Saturday to secure a Grand Slam -- it will mean that the Welsh are assured of a top-four position in the world rankings ahead of the 2019 World Cup pool draw in May.

Saturday will see Wales bidding for their sixth straight win over France in a match where hooker Ken Owens wins his 50th cap, with experienced Bath forwards Taulupe Faletau and Luke Charteris remaining on the bench.

Although Wales have already been beaten by England and Scotland this season, a win at the Stade de France could see them finish second behind already-crowned champions England if other results fall in their favour.

"I was delighted for the players about Friday's result and performance, and they deserve the opportunity to build on that in our final RBS 6 Nations encounter," said Howley after announcing his team.

The former Wales scrum-half, in charge while Wales head coach Warren Gartland is seconded to the British and Irish Lions for the combined side's tour of New Zealand in June and July, and his team had faced criticism after the successive defeats by England and Scotland.

But Wales responded impressively by scoring three tries against Ireland, including two from powerhouse wing George North, while not conceding any at Cardiff's Principality Stadium last Friday.

"The experience we showed and the intensity we brought to the match was hugely important, and that will be just as important as we face a good France team at home," said Howley. "We put pressure on ourselves and turned that pressure into a result."

He added: "For us, there are areas of the game we want to work on from Ireland, and we have an opportunity to do that on Saturday and finish the campaign with another quality performance.

"The players who took to the field at the Principality Stadium deserve the opportunity to start, and we were pleased with the impact from the bench, so will be looking for the same this weekend."

Wales have not lost at the Stade de France since a 28-9 defeat in 2011.

They will face a France side who've also won two out of their four Six Nations matches so far this season, following victories over Scotland and Italy.

Wales (15-1)

Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Liam Williams; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Jake Ball; Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Rob Evans

Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris, Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Jamie Roberts