rbs6nations.com > France
For Wales, Jamie Roberts is joined by 21-year-old flyer George North in the absence of a number of potential partners including Scott Williams and Jonathan Davies.
Warren Gatland has little doubt North can handle the move in from the wing. He did so for the last half an hour against Australia in the autumn and he has also worn 13 for Northampton Saints this season on more than one occasion.
Indeed, there are plenty in the Valleys who believe Wales would benefit from North making the switch permanent - he is likely to see more of the ball at centre and when he does, he more often than not makes things happen.
Lions duo Roberts and North face a formidable task however. Wesley Fofana is among the most highly-rated inside centres in Europe and he caught fire for the first time in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations last time out against Italy.
He is joined by Mathieu Bastareaud who arguably has not but at more than 18 stone, he takes some stopping - a full-tilt collision with North will shake the Millennium Stadium to the rafters.
"George (North) moves into the midfield, and he brings great footwork to the role," said Gatland.
"His partnership with Jamie will be important as we look to stop the directness of France and Mathieu Bastareaud."
Roberts meanwhile, has every faith in his new partner.
"George is a fantastic player," said Roberts. "His physical attributes are incredible and he is a 17st Shane Williams. His turn of pace is amazing and agility is frightening.
"He is a world-class talent and we just need to make sure we get him in space and get the ball in his hands. The scary thing is he is only 21."
North's move to centre was widely predicted but more intriguing is Gatland's decision to drop Mike Phillips to the bench and give Rhys Webb his first start at scrum-half as Wales look to get their campaign back on track after a heavy defeat to Ireland.
Phillips did not have his best of games against Ireland and, as Gatland has pointed out, got wrapped up in his personal battle with Conor Murray but the Kiwi head coach has also made the change in the knowledge that at 31, the Racing Metro No.9 will not be around forever.
"The fact that Mike has been a first choice for a long time, it's important that we give someone else an opportunity in that position to stake a claim and also give us some depth in that role as well," added Gatland.
"It's probably an opportunity [for Phillips] to reflect on his performance against Ireland and that's why we've put him on the bench and given Rhys a chance."
Luke Charteris returns from a hamstring injury in the third and final change made by Gatland and he is one of three Welsh starters, and five squad members, who play their club rugby in France.
Perhaps it's for that reason that France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre, who has made just one change to the side that defeated Italy 30-10 with Wenceslas Lauret replacing Bernard le Roux at flanker, is confident he knows just what will await his side.
"We know the Welsh team, how they work and their tendency to launch attacks after the line out," said Saint-Andre, whose side are looking to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive with a third straight win and put the pressure on current leaders Ireland, 24 hours before their trip to Twickenham.
"They are a team who like to keep the ball in play beyond the two minutes so we need to make sure we have a back row that will scrap and tackle hard.
"Wen comes back after a quality match with Racing last week (18-8 against Bayonne). So to put him with Yannick (Nyanga) and Louis (Picamoles) is a logical choice with regard to the balance of our back line."
|26/2/16||Wales||19 - 10||France|
|28/2/15||France||13 - 20||Wales|
|21/2/14||Wales||27 - 6||France|