Wales ring the changes for first Test
June 7, 2012
Sam Warburton will lead Wales in Brisbane © PA Photos
Wales have changed the bulk of their team for the first of their three Tests against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.
Despite seeing a fringe side beat the Barbarians 30-21 last week, caretaker coach Rob Howley has picked a completely different team to that which played at the Millennium Stadium. Fit again Sam Warburton will return to lead the side after an 11-week break since leaving the field at half-time in the 16-9 win over the French.
Only six of the players who figured in the Baa-Baas win are asked to act as replacements, with Matthew Rees, Paul James, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Lloyd Williams and James Hook all joining Ashley Beck on the bench.
The other changes from the Grand Slam winning team see Scarlets centre Scott Williams take over from the injured Jamie Roberts at centre, hooker Ken Owens replaces his Scarlets team-mate Matthew Rees and Blues lock Bradley Davies pack down with ex-Dragons skipper Luke Charteris in the second row.
"We are well prepared and looking forward to the challenge this weekend," said Howley. "We have created some winning momentum, we have a recent home win against the Barbarians to take into this game and have built a certain amount of confidence within the squad."
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, George North; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Ken Owens, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (Captain), Toby Faletau
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Paul James, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Ashley Beck
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column