Flanker Josh Navidi has been recalled to the Wales team in a reshaped back-row for Friday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against France.

Navidi made his comeback appearance for Cardiff last week after five months out because of a shoulder injury, while he has not played Test rugby for almost a year.

But he will pack down alongside Taulupe Faletau at number eight, with Seb Davies handed blindside flanker duties.

The new-look breakaway trio means that Ross Moriarty and Taine Basham drop out of the starting line-up following Wales’ narrow defeat against England 11 days ago.

Basham has been among Wales’ most consistent performers this season, but he does not feature in the match-day 23. Moriarty is on the bench.

And a change at loosehead prop sees Ospreys forward Gareth Thomas preferred to Wyn Jones.

One back division switch sees Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies replacing Nick Tompkins and partnering Owen Watkin in midfield.

Tompkins was not considered for selection after suffering a concussion during Saracens’ Gallagher Premiership game against Leicester last Saturday.

Tomas FrancisTomas Francis is retained by Wales for the meeting with France (David Davies/PA).

Prop Tomas Francis, who suffered a head injury midway through the first half at Twickenham, is retained by Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

Television footage showed Francis staggering following a clash of heads with team-mate Watkin. He was subsequently removed from the pitch for a head injury assessment that he passed before returning and playing until the 56th minute.

Player welfare lobby group Progressive Rugby wrote an open letter to World Rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union and Six Nations last week expressing its concern over an episode currently being reviewed by Six Nations Rugby.

Progressive Rugby said that Francis should have been immediately and permanently removed following the collision under World Rugby’s HIA protocol.

And Professor John Fairclough, a leading surgeon who has previously worked with the Welsh Rugby Union, said it would be “a grave mistake” if Francis was selected to face France.

Josh AdamsJosh Adams will also start against France (Adam Davy/PA).

Wing Josh Adams, who also suffered a head knock, joins Francis in the starting XV.

The Welsh Rugby Union said: “Francis and Adams have been managed clinically by Wales’ medical personnel in following all of the required return to play protocols, as specified in the World Rugby regulations.

“Having suffered no adverse reactions and no complications in successfully completing each stage of the return to play protocols, both are available for selection.”

Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit, who was left out by Pivac for the England game, is among the replacements.

Louis Rees-ZammitLouis Rees-Zammit is included among the replacements (Nigel French/PA).

Reflecting on his selection, Pivac said: “Josh (Navidi) is a fantastic player and has played well for us in the past.

“He has come back before straight back into the side, so having 80 minutes under his belt for Cardiff we think that is enough for him and we look forward to him being back out there bringing that experience.

“Seb (Davies) at six just gives us a little bit more size. It helps the lineout, but also in the wider channels where he often runs he has got the skill-set to trouble a few defenders.

“I think Gareth (Thomas) made a really big impact for us last week, as did a number of players, and so he gets to start. Wyn will finish the game this time, as opposed to starting it.”

Wales senior men’s team to face France (Friday 11 March, KO 8pm. Live on BBC and S4C):

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets – 77 caps)

14. Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 50 caps)

13. Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 29 caps)

12. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets – 95 caps)

11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 37 caps)

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 98 caps), captain

9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 32 caps)

1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 8 caps)

2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 26 caps)

3. Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 63 caps)

4. Will Rowlands (Dragons – 16 caps)

5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 32 caps), vice-captain

6. Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby – 15 caps)

7. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby – 28 caps)

8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby – 87 caps)


16. Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 3 caps)

17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 41 caps)

18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 36 caps)

19. Ross Moriarty (Dragons – 52 caps)

20. Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 2 caps)

21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 9 caps)

22. Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 30 caps)

23. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 14 caps)