INTERCEPTION king Gareth Davies hopes he can pickpocket Shaun Edwards when Wales host France in the Six Nations next Saturday.

The defensive guru returns to Principality Stadium with Les Bleus, aiming to maintain their perfect start to the tournament after wins against England and Italy in Paris.

It will be an emotional return for the rugby league legend, who spent 12 years as one of Warren Gatland's assistants in Wales.

His defence was key to four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams and two World Cup semi-finals and Davies was a key figure in the final years of the management's regime.

The scrum-half was a key figure in the Edwards system, lining up opposite the first receiver and trying to pick off passes by racing off the mark, or at least put the attack under stress.

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"It was doing a lot of analysis work, seeing how different teams play," said the Scarlets half-back, who intercepted Scotland's Ali Price in the 2018 Six Nations and Will Genia in last year's key World Cup group stage success against Australia.

"I'd have a couple of chats with him and he'd tell me what he'd expect the opposition to throw at us, so I could pop into the front line every now and again and try and pick a few passes off.

"He was right quite a lot of the time. I've had a couple of intercepts from the analysis work I used to do with him.

"I do a lot of that stuff myself now, so hopefully I can pick one off against the French."

Edwards eventually swapped Cardiff for Paris and has made an immediate impression as part of Fabien Galthie's coaching team.

"We were a little bit disappointed he left us but we've had Byron coming in and doing a great job," said Davies, who worked with new defence boss Hayward at the Scarlets.

"It's a big focus for us now leading up to the French game on how we can break that French defence down."

Davies insists that he is relishing the added competition for the number 9 jersey after the return of Lions ace Rhys Webb.

Webb has been given special dispensation by the Welsh Rugby Union to feature in the Six Nations because he is returning to the Ospreys from Toulon next season.

His inclusion in Wayne Pivac's squad at the expense of Aled Davies has put extra heat on Davies and Tomos Williams, who impressed when sharing the scrum-half duties in the World Cup.

Davies was injured for the opening weekend win against Italy, allowing Webb to win a first cap since taking on South Africa in 2017, before he returned as Williams' back-up in Ireland.

The trio now tussle for the right to take to the Principality Stadium pitch against France a week on Saturday, leading to added spice at the Vale Resort training base.

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"From a Welsh rugby point of view it's great to have competition," said Davies, who has won 52 caps. "At scrum-half we've got three of us now who are… pretty decent like.

"It's healthy, keeps us all on our toes. Every training session we know we have to be performing to our best to win the right to take the field.

"I've always, whether it's club or international rugby, I've always had competition for my position so I'm used to it. It's good to have competition, it keeps everyone on our toes.

"We've got to be performing day in, day out in training. Every session is very important."

Whichever Welsh 9 gets the nod is set to come up against one of Europe's most dangerous players in Antoine Dupont, who has been dazzling with country and his club Toulouse.

"He's probably one of the most in-form players in the world. He's playing with a lot of confidence and seems to be making the right decisions all the time which is an important area for a scrum-half," said Davies.

"Whoever plays – whether it's me, Webby or Tomos – I'm sure we'll have to be at the top of our game to keep him quiet."