Wales opt to inject experience
June 14, 2012
Ryan Jones steps into the Wales back-row to replace the injured Toby Faletau © Getty Images
Wales have bolstered their line-up with a wealth of experience ahead of Saturday's second Test clash with Australia at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
Elsewhere, Alun Wyn Jones replaces lock Luke Charteris, hooker Matthew Rees comes in for Ken Owens and Ashley Beck will make his first start at centre in place of Scott Williams. Charteris and Williams, who needed stitches to a mouth wound midway through the second half on Saturday, both drop down to the bench.
George North retains his place on the left wing despite concerns about a dead leg injury suffered at the Suncorp Stadium as he is expected to make a recovery in time for the game. Wales have also confirmed Aled Brew will return home, with a hip injury ruling the wing out of contention for the next fortnight.
The tourists warmed up for their re-match with the Wallabies with a 25-15 victory over the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday night that caretaker coach Rob Howley hopes will prove to be a springboard to a series-levelling win on Saturday.
"After the first Test Australia are obviously in the ascendancy, but the tour is not over by any means and we have all to play for on Saturday," said Howley. "We are bringing three very experienced players into the pack, all three made an impact from the bench during the first Test which has justified their selection in the starting line-up this weekend.
"We were also impressed with the performances of Ashley Beck, Justin Tipuric, Richard Hibbard and Rhys Webb on Tuesday night and they have each very much played themselves into the squad. Having played two matches now on Australian soil we have acclimatised and are ready for another huge challenge this Saturday in Melbourne."
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Ashley Beck, George North; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (capt), Ryan Jones
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Paul James, Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb, James Hook, Scott Williams
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker