Wales captain to equal McCaw's world record
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has named his first squad in seven months as Wales kick off their end-of-year campaign in Paris against France on Saturday.
Captain Alun Wyn Jones is set to make his 148th Test appearance, moving level with Richie McCaw as the joint most capped men’s player in Test history (including 9 British & Irish Lions Test caps). Jones will pack down alongside Cory Hill who makes his first start for his country since February 2019.
Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias and Samson Lee comprise the front-row with Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau featuring in the back-row.
Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar are named at halfback with Nick Tompkins partnering the returning Jonathan Davies in midfield. Josh Adams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny make up the back-three.
Uncapped duo Sam Parry and Louis Rees-Zammit are both named on the bench for the Test at Stade de France. Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies and James Davies complete the forward replacements with Gareth Davies and Rhys Patchell joining Rees-Zammit as the backline cover.
𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 ⫶ Wayne Pivac names first Wales team in seven months: https://t.co/4ncYr46jwR
𝟭𝟰𝟴 ⫶ Alun Wyn Jones to equal world record for international appearances this Saturday in Paris.
👥 ⫶ Dau gap newydd ar y fainc: Sam Parry, Louis Rees-ZammitADVERTISEMENT
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) October 22, 2020
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “The players are excited, it has been a long time, we can’t wait for Saturday.
“We have six matches this autumn and the game against France helps us get back into our stride international rugby-wise. We have picked an experienced side and are up against a good French team so we want to start this autumn well and get on the front foot for the Guinness Six Nations fixture against Scotland.
“We have talked already about how fortunate we are to be going about our work on a daily basis. A lot of people can’t do that and certainly within our organisation there are a lot of people not back at work. From our point of view this Saturday is an opportunity to prepare for this tournament and for Scotland, but two, to put some smiles on faces and put on a good performance and make the nation proud.”
On Alun Wyn Jones equalling the world record for test caps, Pivac said: “It is a fabulous achievement. He epitomises what a great rugby player is all about. He is a true professional on and off the field and a gentleman of the game. On the field he leads by example and you can’t ask more of your captain and we are very privileged here in Wales to have him.”
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ryan Elias 1 Rhys Carre.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Seb Davies, 20 James Davies, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit.
Date: Saturday, October 24
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 21:00 (20:00 UK and Ireland time, 19:00 GMT)
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy, Ian Tempest
TMO: Brian MacNeice