Jenkins to lead Wales against Wallabies
October 18, 2011
Wales will be without captain Sam Warburton after he was banned for his tip tackle on Vincent Clerc © Getty Images
Gethin Jenkins will captain Wales in the absence of Sam Warburton for Friday's Rugby World Cup third-place play off clash with Australia in Auckland.
Warburton misses out after being hit with a three-week ban for the tip tackle on France wing Vincent Clerc which resulted in him being red carded just 18 minutes into last weekend's semi-final defeat by Les Bleus. The flanker's unavailability not only sees the captain's armband passed on to veteran prop Jenkins but also results in a back-row reshuffle, with Toby Faletau switching to the openside and Ryan Jones coming into the side at No.8.
There are two other changes in personnel to the side which started against the French. Paul James takes over at tight-head prop from Adam Jones, who was forced off with a calf injury last weekend, while Bradley Davies has been preferred to Alun-Wyn Jones in the second-row.
The promotion of James and Ryan Jones to the starting line-up creates room on the bench for Ryan Bevington and Adam Powell.
Wales boss Warren Gatland revealed that he had picked his strongest possible line-up for the clash with the Wallabies because he is desperate for his side to finish their campaign on a high.
"We have come a long way and put together a string of performances that the nation can be proud of so far in New Zealand," he said. "We need to ensure the history books reflect what we know we are capable of - and it is only by beating the Wallabies on Friday night that we feel this will be achieved.
"We face Australia back home at the Millennium Stadium in just over a month's time and we are single-minded in our assertion that we want that home-coming to be a celebration of us achieving the status of one of the top three teams in the world.
"We have stuck with the majority of the side which has put together a string of performances for us so far in this tournament. The one change which wasn't forced, in the second-row, is based on the fact that Alun-Wyn ran himself into the ground when we faced 15 men against France last week."
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; James Hook, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins (capt), Huw Bennett, Paul James; Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris; Dan Lydiate, Toby Faletau, Ryan Jones.
Replacements: Lloyd Burns, Ryan Bevington, Alun-Wyn Jones, Andy Powell, Lloyd Williams, Stephen Jones, Scott Williams.
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