Six Nations 2017: Wales' Rhys Webb focused on France win, not Lions

Rhys Webb
Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb missed the 2015 World Cup through injury

Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb says he is not worried about rankings or British and Irish Lions selection in Paris on Saturday only about beating France.

Rob Howley's team could move into the top four of the World Rugby rankings and Webb could press his claim for a place on the Lions tour to New Zealand.

Webb, 28, says the players cannot worry about anything other than the match.

"Going fourth is not something that we will be looking at too much as players," he said.

The Ospreys player has shrugged off the latest in a long line of serious injuries that have restricted him to only 26 Wales appearances to stake a strong claim to be the best number nine in the Championship.

He was named man of the match in Wales' 22-9 win over Ireland, having a hand in two George North tries and setting up the attack which led to Ireland's Johnny Sexton being sin-binned - a key moment in a tight match.

After consecutive defeats by England and Scotland, Wales were in danger of falling out of World Rugby's top eight and facing a tough draw for the 2019 World Cup.

But after beating Ireland, a sixth consecutive win over France and an England win in Dublin could see Wales ranked as high as fourth and placed among the top seeds for the tournament in Japan - and, if other results go their way, finish second in the Six Nations table.

"After a good performance against a strong Ireland team we know it's going to be a difficult task out in France.

"Our target was to win a Grand Slam, but that went and there is the chance to finish second."

"We've got a job to do and we need to back up Ireland and go up another level again. I am pretty confident we can do that."

Lions ambition?

Webb is widely tipped to be in Lions coach Warren Gatland's squad when it is announced in April.

But having missed out on the 2015 World Cup, and six Tests during 2016 because of injury, Webb says he is not looking that far ahead.

"I just go into each game looking to enjoy it," he added.

No Lions talk in Wales camp - Howley

"The more I enjoy it the better I play. Whatever happens, happens. If it does, then happy days, but I am not going to count on anything.

"The Lions would be the highlight - it is the pinnacle of anyone's career - but I have not thought about it one bit and that is genuine.

"You can't look at it too much because, like I said, I know what it is like to miss out on these things.

"You can't look any further than a big game against France this weekend."

The French challenge

Webb expects France to present as physical and aggressive a challenge as anyone in the championship.

Louis Picamoles
France number eight Louis Picamoles joined Northampton Saints at the start of the current season

Number eight Louis Picamoles is a major threat, he says.

"He is a massive player for them, a guy we need to shut down early," Webb said.

"We have fronted up against these big guys during the tournament, England's Nathan Hughes and others.

"We are expecting him to come at us, carry hard, hopefully we can stop him at the gain line, stop his momentum and put in another brutal performance."

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