Wales Team for Australia :: 29 Nov 13:15
Four changes to the pack for the clash with Australia at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
WALES: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Scott Andrews, Ian Evans, Luke Charteris, Aaron Shingler, Sam Warburton (captain), Toby Faletau
REPLACEMENTS: Ken Owens, Ryan Bevington, Samson Lee, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Tavis Knoyle, Dan Biggar, Scott Williams
In the front row Blues prop Scott Andrews, who came on for Osprey Aaron Jarvis in the first minutes of the defeat to the All Blacks last time out, is handed his second Wales start and he is joined by former Blues colleague and 93-times capped veteran prop Gethin Jenkins (now Toulon).
Jenkins, who has been released by the French club for the fixture which falls outside the IRB international window, replaces Bath’s Paul James, who by contrast has been made unavailable.
Elsewhere Ospreys lock Ian Evans completes his return from injury (knee) to replace Bradley Davies (Blues) who has been ruled out with concussion and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler replaces another Osprey, Ryan Jones, in the back row – with Jones retained on the bench.
The same backline which started against New Zealand last time out is selected, with Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar coming in for another player returning to his club, Perpignan’s James Hook, in one change to the backs cover provided by the bench.
Uncapped Scarlets tight-head Samson Lee has the potential to make his international debut after joining the training squad on a full time basis this week providing front row cover as a replacement alongside Ospreys prop Ryan Bevington in the final change to the match-day 23.
Lee turns 20 tomorrow (Friday), missing out on the chance to make his debut as a teenager, but he still has the opportunity to pick up the late birthday present of an international cap should he appear from the bench.
“We need to pick up again where we left off in the second half last week,”said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
“We managed to retain 73% possession after the break against the All Blacks and win the territory battle, and we need to put Australia under similar pressure from the outset.
“We have played them regularly over the last couple of years and have come close to winning on a number of occasions, but have not quite been able to get ourselves over the chalk of the finish line.
“Both sides have had injuries to cope with, but there is every reason for optimism. The Millennium Stadium crowd will be in full voice again, they were outstanding last week, and we are aiming to reach the end of a tough series on Saturday and finish off on a high.”