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Webb follows a fine tradition as he prepares to make first Wales start

Rhys Webb, the Wales scum-half, has been given the challenge of replacing veteran Mike Phillips tonight when the Ospreys man makes his first international start in an RBS 6 Nations match with France.

It will be a moment of satisfaction for Webb but not one he will want to dwell on initially, since he will feature in place of an 82-times capped, double grand slam winner.

The Ospreys player has not been without support, though. As the latest name on a sporting roll of honour at Brynteg Comprehensive School in Bridgend, Webb has been in receipt of a welter of messages congratulating him. Among the other alumni to play for Wales are JPR Williams, Rob Howley, Mike Hall, Gavin Henson and Dafydd James.

It is a school with a proud history then, and will offer a source of inspiration for Webb. "There are a lot of internationalists to come from there," Webb said. "I think it's five or six British Lions as well. It is a pretty special school, really. You would be sitting in assembly and they have a wall of honour showing all the internationalists. You would just look at that and think one day you will be there. That has helped me along the way, and hopefully I can get on the board one day."

It is likely that he would settle for putting some points on the board first, starting with tonight's match with France. The visitors travel to Cardiff intent on earning a third consecutive Six Nations victory, with Wesley Fofana emerging as their most prominent player. "I have absolutely no problem with being a leader out on the pitch," said the Clermont Auvergne centre. "I have been with the team a while now. I know where we want to get to."

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