Wales v Georgia - Teams v Prediction
PREVIEW: Wales take on Georgia for just the fourth time in history on Saturday as Wayne Pivac’s side bid for back-to-back year-end Nations Series wins.
Victory over a strong Argentina side cast off any lingering disappointment from the defeat against New Zealand in Round 1.
Standing in their way this week are Georgia, who tasted defeat against Samoa for the first time on home soil last week.
This is the Lelos’ final November fixture, so they will be looking to finish strongly, while Wales will be hoping to maintain momentum ahead of the visit of Australia.
Adams return headlines six changes to Wales team
Josh Adams returns to the wing having missed the first two rounds of the year-end Nations Series through injury.
He is one of six changes for Pivac’s side, with three each in the forwards and backs.
Josh Macleod is in the line to make his debut having been selected at No.8, while Jac Morgan starts at flank and Ben Carter makes just his fourth international start in the second row.
Rhys Priestland replaces Gareth Anscombe at flyhalf and Owen Watkin comes in for his first start of the season at centre.
There could be two further debutants for Wales, with lock Dafydd Jenkins – who this week became the youngest captain in Premiership rugby history – and scrum-half Dane Blacker both in contention for a first cap from the replacements bench.
Pivac said: “Josh Macleod’s a player that’s been really unfortunate in the past. We’ve wanted to use him on a couple of occasions, so this is very much third time lucky for him.
“He covers the back row. We know a lot about him, I’ve coached him at the Scarlets. He brings a lot of energy, he’s very strong over the ball and in tandem with Jac Morgan hopefully that will be a strong part of our game on the weekend.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him go at this level and seeing the physicality that he will bring.”
Milestone for Georgia
Alexander Todua will win his 100th cap for Georgia, as the Lelos have named a largely familiar side to face Wales in their sole year-end Nations Series fixture.
Todua will line up in the back three alongside Mirian Modebadze and Davit Niniashvili as he marks a century of appearances for his nation.
Giorgi Chkoidze will pack down in the middle of the front row in between Guram Gogichashvili and Guram Papidze, who will earn his second cap in Cardiff.
Nodar Cheishvili and Konstantin Mikautadze comprise an experienced second row, while Beka Saghinadze, Beka Gorgadze and Tornike Jalagonia complete the back row, as Otar Giorgadze drops out.
Vasil Lobzhanidze and Tedo Abzhandadze are the halfback pairing once more, with captain Merab Sharikadze and youngster Demur Tapladze in the centre.
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Players to watch:
For Wales: Scarlets loose forward Josh Macleod is set to make his long-awaited Wales debut. Macleod, who will pack down at No.8, was selected to play in the run-on side against Scotland during last year’s Six Nations but ruptured his Achilles tendon in training just days before the game. Rhys Priestland will start at flyhalf, while wing Josh Adams is another player to keep a close eye on.
For Georgia: Alexander Todua will get his 100th Test cap. The wing will be out to deliver one amazing performance especially given the momentous occasion. The halfback pairing of Tedo Abzhandadze (flyhalf) and Vasil Lobzhanidze (scrumhalf) are worth keeping an eye on. In the pack, Beka Gorgadze and lock Kote Mikautadze who ply their trade in Europe have the ability to cause a problem for Wales.
@rugby365com: Wales by 12 points
Wales: 15 Louis Rees-Zammit, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Josh Macleod, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Jac Morgan, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Ben Carter, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Roberts, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Dafydd Jenkins, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Sam Costelow, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.
Georgia: 15 Davit Niniashvili, 14 Mirian Modebadze, 13 Demur Tapladze,, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Tornike Jalagonia, 7 Beka Gorgadze, 6 Beka Saghinadze, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 4 Nodar Cheishvili,, 3 Guram Papidze, 2 Giorgi Chkoidze, 1 Guram Gogichashvili
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Nika Abuladze, 18 Alexandre Kuntelia, 19 Lado Chachanidze, 20 Sandro Mamamtavrishvili, 21 Luka Matkava, 22 Lasha Khmaladze, 23 Lasha Lomidze
Date: Saturday, November 19
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 13.00 (13.00 GMT; 17.00 GET)
Expected weather: Sunny intervals and a gentle breeze. High of 11°C and a low of 7°C
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (France); Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)