Gatland reveals new-look Wales side for Wallabies

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:50
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wales coach Warren Gatland gave home debuts to three players when he announced his side to play Australia in Cardiff on Saturday.

Scarlets wing Steff Evans, Gloucester's Owen Williams and Cardiff Blues flank Josh Navidi were all included in the starting XV for Wales's opening match of their end-of-year campaign.

Evans has replaced an injured George North, with Wiliams at inside centre after Gatland opted for a second playmaker alongside flyhalf Dan Biggar.

Navidi gets his chance in the back row after experienced loose forwards Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric were both ruled out of this weekend's clash against the Wallabies through injury.

Saturday's match will be the first time Williams has started a Test, having come on as a replacement during the tour international against Tonga earlier this year.

British and Irish Lions fullback Liam Williams is on the wing, with ace goalkicker Leigh Halfpenny wearing the No.15 shirt in Cardiff.

Wales will be looking to end a dreadful run of 12 successive defeats to Australia, a major blot on the boss of Lions boss Gatland, who oversaw a series win against the Wallabies with the combined side in 2013 before being in charge for this year's drawn Lions Test campaign with his native New Zealand. 

"I'm delighted for Steff Evans, Owen Williams and Josh Navidi that they get their first start at home, the atmosphere will be fantastic and it's a great opportunity for them," said Gatland.

"It's going to be a tough first up game, we know that and we need to be up and running.  

"We have a squad that's packed with talent and is on form and we are excited to see what they can do."

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Owen Watkin, 23 Hallam Amos.

Date: Saturday, November 11
Venue: Millenium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17.15 (17.15 GMT; 04.15 AEDT, Sunday, November 12)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Ian Tempest (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Agence France-Presse