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Amos set for Wales debut

Tue, 19 Nov 2013 15:48
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Jones back as captain
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Wales have made 11 changes for the clash against Tonga on Friday evening with Newport Gwent Dragons' Hallam Amos making his debut on the wing in a side captained by Ryan Jones.

The 19-year-old, who featured for the Wales Under-20s last season, made his debut for the Dragons aged just 17. He comes into the side to line-up in a back three alongside British and Irish Lions duo George North (Northampton Saints) and Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues).

Ashley Beck (Ospreys) starts in the midfield after featuring from the bench in the opening two November games. He is joined in the centre by Cardiff Blues' Owen Williams who will earn his third cap after making his debut on the tour to Japan.

Perpignan's James Hook has been named at flyhalf alongside Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues) at scrumhalf. There are six changes in the pack from the side that beat Argentina by a record margin last weekend.

Bath prop Paul James and Scarlets hooker Ken Owens come into the starting line-up to join Rhodri Jones (Scarlets) in the front row.

In the second row, Luke Charteris (Perpignan) starts and will play alongside British and Irish Lions second row Ian Evans, who returns from injury to take his place in the side.

Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) retains the No.7 jersey and is joined in the back row by Andrew Coombs, who features for the first time in the series. Ryan Jones (Ospreys) lines up at No.8 and the record-holding captain will lead Wales for the 33rd time on Friday.

It is the first time in 12 years that Wales welcome Tonga to the Millennium Stadium and Warren Gatland, who will reach the milestone of 100 international Tests as a head coach on Friday, is expecting a tough encounter.

"Tonga are a typical south sea island side and will be physical, powerful and won't take a backwards step," said Gatland.

"We pride ourselves on matching other side's physicality and we will have to do that on Friday.

"It should be a great encounter with both sides looking to move the ball around.

"We have made a number of changes but it's a great opportunity for these guys to show us exactly how they cope with the international game.

"The whole squad has trained well since the start of the campaign and they deserve their chance.

On the replacements bench, Wales have called Wales Under-20 and Scarlets back Jordan Williams into the squad for his first taste of international rugby at senior level. He is joined by Ospreys prop Ryan Bevington and Scarlets hooker Emyr Phillips, who made his debut in Japan.

Samson Lee who won his first cap against Argentina is again on the bench. Uncapped scrumhalf Rhodri Williams (Scarlets) lines up alongside regional halfback partner Rhys Priestland.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 James Hook, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Ryan Jones (captain), 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Andrew Coombs, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Dan Lydiate, 20 Sam Warburton, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Jordan Williams.

Date: Friday, November 22
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 19.30 (19:30 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

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