Star quartet back for Wales

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 11:32
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wales have made six personnel changes to their starting XV to face Argentina in the second match in November on Saturday.

Rob Howley is able to welcome back the experienced quartet of Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies who all missed the clash against Australia whilst Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis both earn starts against the Pumas.

Gethin Jenkins will continue to lead the side in what will be a record-breaking appearance for the loosehead prop as he becomes the world's most capped front-row forward of all time as he makes his 133rd international appearance (128th cap for Wales plus five British and Irish Lions caps). 

Jenkins will pack down with Ken Owens and Francis in the front row with the tighthead replacing Samson Lee who starts on the bench.

Jones returns to the side after missing last Saturday due to personal reasons and he partners Luke Charteris in the second row. Injury to Bradley Davies sees him drop out of the matchday 23.

One change in the back row sees Warburton return from injury to replace Dan Lydiate, with Warburton joining Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty.

In the backline Wales welcome back Williams and he returns to start on the wing alongside George North and Leigh Halfpenny at fullback.

In the midfield, Davies, who missed last weekend with a tight hamstring, returns to line-up alongside regional teammate Scott Williams who moves across to inside centre.

Flyhalf Dan Biggar will win his 50th cap and starts alongside Gareth Davies at halfback.

"We've made a number of changes, some of which are selection based and injury-enforced but we are also able to select from a number of players returning from injury as well," said Wales head coach Rob Howley.

"In the backline, Liam [Williams] and Jon [Jonathan Davies] are both back and available and come into the side. We were pleased with Leigh's performance at fullback last week and we feel this is the best back three combination for this game. 

"Jon has recovered from his tight hamstring and will link up with Scott in midfield and it's a blow to lose Rhys [Webb], but Gareth [Davies] is an excellent scrum half as he has shown on many occasions in the No.9 jersey and he will see it as a great opportunity. 

"We've made a number of changes in the pack, Tomas Francis starts at tighthead and it's great to welcome Alun Wyn Jones back into the side after what has been a really tough few weeks for him and his family.

"Sam [Warburton] came through the match for the Blues well last weekend and comes into the side at blindside. With Sam returning, we have spoken to him and we feel its best for him to focus purely on his performance and role on Saturday, leaving the captaincy with Gethin [Jenkins]

"In terms of achievements it is great to see Dan win his 50th cap and also it's a huge honour for Gethin as he becomes the World's most capped front-row forward."

On the bench, Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith and Samson Lee make up the front-row replacements. Cory Hill who made his debut against Australia retains his place alongside James King. Cardiff Blues pair Lloyd Williams and Gareth Anscombe along with Jamie Roberts provide the backline cover.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins (captain).
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Cory Hill, 20 James King, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Jamie Roberts.

Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17.30 (14.30 ART; 17.30 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: Shaun Davey (England)