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New captain for new-look Wales

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named his 23-man squad to face Australia in Pool C in Lyon on Sunday.

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The team will be captained by Jac Morgan.

The flank starts his third match of the tournament after coming in as a late injury replacement for Tommy Reffell against Portugal last weekend.

Taulupe Faletau at No. 8 and Louis Rees-Zammit on the wing are the other two players to start in all of Wales’ pool matches so far.

Aaron Wainwright returns at blindside flank to complete the back row.

Adam Beard is named in the second row to win his 50th cap for Wales. Will Rowlands starts alongside him.

Josh Adams at wing and Liam Williams at full-back join Rees-Zammit in the Wales back three.

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Nick Tompkins and George North continue their centre partnership. Gareth Davies is named at scrumhalf with Dan Biggar returning at fly-half.

In the front row, Ryan Elias is named at hooker for his tenth RWC appearance across two tournaments. Gareth Thomas starts at loosehead prop and Tomas Francis is at tighthead prop.

Wales’ replacements include Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe and Rio Dyer as the backline cover.

Elliot Dee, Corey Domachowski and Henry Thomas, who is in line to make his RWC debut from the Wales bench, are the front row cover. Dafydd Jenkins is the second row cover and Taine Basham is the final forward replacement for the second match running.

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Gatland said: “We’re happy with our position going into this game. We have two wins and ten points. There’s confidence among this group and we’ve had a good edge in training this week.

“Everyone wants to be involved and there were some disappointed players this week, which is exactly what we want with competition strong across the squad.

“Every game in the World Cup is tough, the stakes are high, and this will be no different. Australia have talented players and we know they will want to come out and put in a performance this weekend.

“Our accuracy was good against Fiji, but it was not at the level we would like against Portugal. We are looking to get better every week. Against Australia, we know we have to take our chances and put them under as much pressure as possible.”

Wales: 15 Liam Williams; 14 Louis Rees Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams; 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies; 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Jac Morgan (Captain), 6 Aaron Wainwright; 5 Adam Beard, 4 Will Rowlands; 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dafydd Jenkins, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Rio Dyer.

Date: Sunday, September 24
Venue: OL Stadium, Lyon
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT; 20.00 UK & Ireland time; 5.00 Monday, Septemver 25 AEST)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England) & Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

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