Peel steps in for Wales
November 24, 2009
Dwayne Peel has been restored to the Wales No.9 jersey © Getty Images
Peel replaces Cardiff Blues scrum-half Gareth Cooper, who has been released to represent his region against the Wallabies on Tuesday night. Scarlets No.9 Martin Roberts is elevated to the bench in the only other change to the 22 that defeated Argentina last time out.
Peel partners his former Llanelli and Scarlets team-mate Stephen Jones at halfback and Jones will be keen for more of the same after a superb display against the Pumas. Scarlets youngster Jonathan Davies starts again in the No.12 jersey alongside Jamie Roberts, with Tom Shanklin not making the 22.
Shane Williams grabbed the headlines with a brace last weekend and is named in the back-three with James Hook and Leigh Halfpenny. Ryan Jones wears the captain's armband and the No.8 jersey in a back-row also containing Blues duo Andy Powell and Martyn Williams.
Paul James and Matthew Rees continue in the front-row alongside Gethin Jenkins, with the second-row of Luke Charteris and Alun-Wyn Jones remaining intact.
"One of the challenges for us is possibly accepting what might be a tag of favourites," said Gatland. "The current coaching regime has something like a 66% (overall) success rate, and we have played against more southern hemisphere teams than any other Welsh regime.
"We haven't been good enough on two occasions to beat the All Blacks, but we've played South Africa three times, and on two of those three occasions we had chances to win. The next progression for the side is going in, handling that expectation and developing as a team.
"Knowing the Australian attitude - it doesn't matter whether it is rugby union, cricket, rugby league, whatever - when their backs are to the wall, they tend to respond. We expect them to play with a lot of passion."
Gatland defended the omission of the experienced Shanklin as an exercise in building their strength in depth in the centre.
"We haven't got a lot of options behind Tom," said Gatland. "It was a young centre combination last week that went okay, and we just felt we wanted them to have another chance this weekend. It's also important if you pick up injuries going forward that we need some alternatives."
Wales: James Hook; Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Paul James, Alun-Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Andy Powell, Martyn Williams, Ryan Jones (capt)
Replacements: Huw Bennett, Duncan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Dan Lydiate, Martin Roberts, Andrew Bishop, Tom James
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