Landmark for Welsh veteran
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Alun Wyn Jones will become Wales’s most capped player of all time when he leads out his side for the World Cup warm-up match with England at Twickenham on Sunday.
The 33-year-old Welsh captain – last season’s Six Nations player of the tournament after captaining the Welsh to the Grand Slam – will be appearing in his 135th Test match.
The second row forward’s tally – 126 Tests for Wales and nine for the British and Irish Lions – is one more than that of prop Gethin Jenkins, who accrued 129 for his country and five for the Lions.
Coach Warren Gatland has named an unchanged backline from the side that clinched the Grand Slam against Ireland in March.
Gareth Davies and Gareth Anscombe continue their partnership at halfback, with Scarlets duo Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies paired in midfield.
Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams make up the back three.
The Welsh warm-up schedule consists of two double-headers – first against England, who they then host on Saturday week, and then against Ireland on August 31 in Cardiff and September 7 in Dublin.
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“We have picked a strong looking team and we are looking forward to seeing how they kick on after a successful couple of campaigns,” said Gatland.
“These matches are really important leading into the World Cup, to ensure that both the players are ready for the tournament but also to give players the opportunity to put their hands up for selection.
“There is a balance with selection, a needed to mix continuity from what we have achieved and opportunity and we will look to do that over the next couple of weeks.
“Looking at the first two matches, this block replicates what we are doing in the World Cup with a six-day turnaround so it’s a good opportunity for us to prepare and mimic that schedule.”
Gatland is hoping to end his 12-year reign by delivering the Welsh their first World Cup trophy – he guided them to the 2011 semi-finals.
They begin their campaign against Georgia on September 23 followed six days later by 2015 finalists Australia with Fiji and Uruguay the other teams in Pool D.
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Owen Watkin.
Date: Sunday, August 11
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 14.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Alex Ruiz (France)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)