Wales opt for experience

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 13:23
Large ian evans Large adamjonestraining2 Large andrewcoombsscarlets

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has named an experienced side for their opening Six Nations fixture against Ireland on Saturday.

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has named an experienced side to begin the defence of their Six Nations title with 13 members of the 2012 Grand Slam-winning squad starting the opening fixture against Ireland on Saturday.
       
A sold out Millennium Stadium will witness the first match of the 2013 tournament kick-off in Cardiff and the starting 15 features one uncapped player, Dragons second row Andrew Coombs.
       
Coombs will partner Ospreys’ Ian Evans in the second row who returns from injury to start the fixture.
       
The same back row that started the final end-of-year international against Australia will face Ireland with captain Sam Warburton (Blues) joined by Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) at blindside and Toby Faletau (Dragons) at No.8.
       
The front row sees the return of Adam Jones (Ospreys) from injury and he links up with Matthew Rees (Scarlets) and Gethin Jenkins (Toulon) to reunite the 2009 British and Irish Lions front row.
       
In the backline, Dan Biggar is the only change to the side that kicked off last season’s Six Nations with victory over Ireland in Dublin.
       
The Ospreys flyhalf will win his 12th cap and will be partnered by scrumhalf Mike Phillips (Bayonne).
       
The Grand Slam-winning midfield partnership of Jamie Roberts (Blues) and Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) wear No.12 and No.13 respectively.
       
Blues fullback Leigh Halfpenny and wings Alex Cuthbert (Blues) and George North (Scarlets) started all five games in last year’s Championship and they will line up together in the back three.

“As a squad we have worked hard over the past two weeks and go into Saturday excited and confident at defending our title,” said Howley.

“It’s a boost to have Adam and Ian return from injury and it’s a great opportunity for Andrew who has been performing well at regional level to show what he can do on this stage.

“The Six Nations is all about momentum and we know we have to hit the ground running against Ireland.”

On the bench, Craig Mitchell returns to the matchday squad for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and he is joined by uncapped Harlequins second row Olly Kohn.

Richard Hibbard, Ryan Jones, Eli Walker (all Ospreys), Lou Reed (Blues) and Liam Williams (Scarlets) were unavailable for selection due to injury.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Andrew Coombs, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Craig Mitchell, 18 Paul James, 19 Olly Kohn, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Liam Williams, 22 Scott Williams, 23 James Hook.

Date: Saturday, February 2
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 13.30 (13.30 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Pascal Gauzere (France)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 22 September 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas 15h30 Bloemfontein
Cheetahs v Leinster 18h00 Bloemfontein
Glasgow Warriors v Munster 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Ulster v Dragons 18h35 Kingspan Stadium
Gloucester v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Kingsholm
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Sat, 23 September 2017
Sharks v Blue Bulls 13h00 Durban
Bath v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Recreation Ground
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Saracens v Sale Sharks 14h00 Allianz Park
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 14h15 Sportsground
Western Province v Griquas 15h15 Newlands
Kings v Zebre 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 24 September 2017
London Irish v Northampton Saints 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 14h00 Sandy Park
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0
France 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0