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Best looking to English purge

Hooker Rory Best believes that Ireland will not be able to purge themselves of the beating they took in Paris until they have dealt with England at Twickenham on Saturday.

"I think it will not be completely forgotten about until, as a 15, we take the field again. You learn lessons from every game, especially the ones you lose," said Best.

Despite the loss of Donnacha Ryan (dislocated shoulder), Robert Kearney (knee) and Sean O'Brien (fractured leg), Ireland are going to England with a strong squad boosted by the return from injury of lock Donncha O'Callaghan and the fine form of replacement hooker Sean Cronin.

"There isn't a problem with morale. We've obviously not been use to losing over the last 12 to 15 months," continued Best. "That was a big shock to the system. We're concentrating on moving on from France by looking at England and how to go about beating them".

In contrast to France, there will be precious little mystery or sorcery in how Martin Johnson's England will attempt to lay the platform for their out-half Jonny Wilkinson. Although Sale fly-half Charlie Hodgson trained with the England squad yesterday after Jonny Wilkinson reported "muscle tightness" Hodgson has not played for England since a nightmare game against New Zealand in 2008.

The slow motion forward momentum of their pack can grind down teams with the best of intentions. It can suck the will to play from those who don't have the fortitude for the fight.

"You have to empty the tank. It takes so much out of you, not only physically but mentally, to beat a quality side like England," insisted Best. "It is always going to be a very big, strong physical pack. If we're to get any sort of result, we'll need to match them up front," said hooker Rory Best. "It is a bit of an old cliche but that is where the game will be won and lost."

If Wales can dent France's Grand Slam ambitions at the Millennium Stadium on Friday evening it will blow the Championship wide open, providing greater reward for the effort Ireland will require to subdue England.

Effectively, it would leave England as the only unbeaten nation in the competition on Saturday morning with Wales and France looking to the Irish to make it a very level playing field after three rounds. Warren Gatland has shown his dependency on Mike Phillips -- he looked decidedly rusty against Connacht in the Magners League on Sunday -- by parachuting him on the bench behind Cardiff Blue Richie Rees, who moves from the wood to the grass ahead of the deposed Gareth Cooper.

In all, there are four changes to the Welsh side that completed a miracle comeback against Scotland last time round. Hooker Huw Bennett, lock Bradley Davies and flanker Deiniol Jones are summoned to tear into France.

Les Bleus coach Marc Lievremont has shown his fearless investment in youth by opting for Bayonne's Benjamin Fall over Julien Malzieu to succeed the injured Vincent Clerc on the right wing. He has also taken the risk of activating an upright back row by planting natural No8 Julien Bonnaire for Fulgence Ouedraogo on the openside, possibly leaving Martyn Williams to dominate the ground game.

Wales: L Byrne; L Halfpenny, J Hook, J Roberts, S Williams; S Jones, R Rees; P James, H Bennett, A Jones, B Davies, D Jones, J Thomas, M Williams, R Jones (capt).

France: C Poitrenaud; B Fall, M Bastareaud, Y Jauzion, A Palisson; F Trinh-Duc, M Parra; T Domingo, W Servat, N Mas, L Nallet, P Pape, T Dusautoir (capt), J Bonnaire , I Harinordoquy.


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