Wales v Australia – 5th November 2016
Written by Jamie on 3rd November 2016
Gethin Jenkins will captain an experienced Wales side that will take on Australia in the opening Under Armour Series clash on Saturday – KO 14:30.
Wales’ most capped player of all time will lead his country for a seventh time (third time against Australia) as the four match series kicks off in Cardiff.
The experienced starting XV can count 802 Wales caps between them but there are two uncapped players named amongst the replacements in Ospreys fly-half Sam Davies and Newport Gwent Dragons second row Cory Hill.
Captain Jenkins will pack down alongside Scarlets pair Ken Owens and Samson Lee in the front-row.
Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris form the second-row partnership. In the back-row Ross Moriarty, who has started the last four tests for Wales, packs down at No. 8 and is joined in the back-row back Ospreys duo Dan Lydiate and Justin Tipuric.
Ospreys half-backs Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar continue their partnership, starting their sixth successive international alongside each other.
Wales name an all British and Irish Lions midfield and back-three with Jamie Roberts partnering Jonathan Davies in the centre and Leigh Halfpenny making his first appearance for Wales since September 2015, alongside George North and Alex Cuthbert.
“It’s great to welcome back Leigh Halfpenny, Dan Lydiate, and Alex Cuthbert who missed the New Zealand tour plus George North and Gethin Jenkins who left the tour early with injury.
“We have a vast amount of experience in the squad, we’ve trained really well over the last two weeks and are really excited for Saturday.
“With losing Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau and Alun Wyn Jones, we have spoken a lot about the leadership group this week and their importance on the field.
“From the Welsh squad’s perspective, our thoughts go out to Alun Wyn and his family at this difficult time. As a squad, we have a mantra of family coming first off the field, that’s always the case and obviously so here.
“With the two uncapped players, Sam Davies has played particularly well, he deserves his chance and hopefully will have an influence on the game. Cory comes onto the bench, with Rory (Thornton) having picked up a back spasm, and we are delighted with him and how he has stepped up to this level in training.”
On the bench, Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith and Tomas Francis make up the front-row replacements with uncapped Hill and James King completing the forward contingent.
Gareth Davies, Sam Davies and Hallam Amos provide the backline cover.
15. Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) (62 Caps)
14. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues) (42 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (56 Caps)
12. Jamie Roberts (Harlequins) (83 Caps)
11. George North (Northampton Saints) (62 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (48 Caps)
9. Rhys Webb (Ospreys) (22 Caps)
1. Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) (126 Caps) (CAPTAIN)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (42 Caps)
3. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (26 Caps)
4. Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (56 Caps)
5. Luke Charteris (Bath Rugby) (68 Caps)
6. Dan Lydiate (Ospreys) (57 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (43 Caps)
8. Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) (9 Caps)
16. Scott Baldwin (Ospreys) (24 Caps)
17. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (3 Caps)
18. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (14 Caps)
19. Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons) (UNCAPPED)
20. James King (Ospreys) (8 Caps)
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (17 Caps)
22. Sam Davies (Ospreys) (UNCAPPED)
23. Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons) (10 Caps)