Six Nations 2017: Wales coach Rob Howley defends selection policy

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Flats & Shanks spend the day inside the Wales team camp
Six Nations: France v Wales
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales coach Rob Howley insists enough players are being tried out despite using only 26 in the 2017 Six Nations.

Wales have capped just three new players since the 2015 World Cup, fewer than all their main rivals.

Howley has named an unchanged squad for the second match running against France following the 22-9 win over Ireland.

But Howley said: "We have blooded youngsters along the way. There's a queue coming behind that now and they'll be given the opportunity."

Howley continued: "Over the last eight or nine years, a lot have been blooded at a very young age.

"They've taken their opportunity and they're still very young."

Seven uncapped players were named in the 2017 Six Nations squad, but none have made it to a match-day 23.

Only Sam Davies, Cory Hill and Ellis Jenkins have made debuts since the 2015 World Cup.

Wales have consistently pointed to the June Tests against Samoa and Tonga as the chance to try out new options for the 2019 World Cup, while some senior players will be on the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

"Canada in 2009, Japan in 2013, players were also blooded against the Chiefs on a Tuesday [in New Zealand 2016], so players have had exposure," added Howled.

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World Cup seeding

Meanwhile, the chance of finishing the Six Nations campaign ranked fourth in the world, and among the top tier of seeds for the 2019 World Cup draw in May is a major incentive being used for the Paris match.

"We're all aware of May, and Rugby World Cup draw is pretty important," said Howley.

"That's been something in the back of our minds, things motivate us in different ways whether it's through fear or through ambition, they [the players] will use it.

"But ultimately they've got a chance to go into the Rugby World Cup ranked fourth."

Captain Alun Wyn Jones will make his 100th start for Wales at the Stade de France, with 6ft 8in Clermont lock Sebastien Vahaamahina as one of his direct opponents after recovering from a back injury.

"There's quite a few large men in their pack, to bring Vahaamahina in shows the strength in depth in their forwards" Jones said.

"Add that to the off-loading game and the physicality they have, it's a French team of old if you like. Physicality, go-forward, an off-loading game with a heavy set-piece.

"Coming off the back of a positive display [against Ireland], we need to back it up."

Wales in the 2017 Six Nations
Sunday, 5 February: Italy 7-33 Wales
Saturday, 11 February: Wales 16-21 England
Saturday, 25 February: Scotland 29-13 Wales
Friday, 10 March: Wales 22-9 Ireland
Saturday, 18 March, 14:45 GMT: France v Wales

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