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Jenkins to captain Wales against Fiji

Jenkins to captain Wales against Fiji

Ellis Jenkins

Wales have made five changes to their side to take on Fiji at Principality Stadium on Sunday in their third match of the Autumn Nations Series, with Ellis Jenkins set to captain the side.

Wayne Pivac has largely kept with the same forward pack from the narrow defeat to South Africa, but it is a revamped backline that will take on the Pacific Islanders.

Thomas Young makes his first Wales appearance in two years as he comes into the back row for Aaron Wainwright with Taine Basham shifting to No.8. The final member of the back row is Jenkins, who takes over the captaincy with Jonathan Davies not included for this game.

Meanwhile in the backs, Kieran Hardy gets the start at scrum-half with Tomos Williams dropping to the bench and he will link up with Dan Biggar at ten.

It is a new-look centre pairing as Johnny Williams returns to the side at inside centre, with Josh Adams shifting from the wing to start alongside him.

That opens up a spot for Alex Cuthbert out wide for his first cap in four years, while Liam Williams returns to the starting line-up for the first time this autumn.

On the bench, Christ Tshiunza is in line for his first cap, the teenager can cover second row or back row and Pivac is excited about his potential.

He said: “He’s come in, he’s trained well and with Ben Carter at 20 years of age and Christ at 19 it’s very exciting. We’re looking at him as a player, in the future, who can hopefully cover two positions, in the second row and at six. We’re really looking forward to seeing him out there. He’ll be full of energy, he’s very excited about the opportunity and he’s one for the future.”

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Reflecting on last week’s performance against South Africa Pivac added: “It was a much-improved performance from the week before. A game where we led for the first 70 minutes and it was really our own undoing with a little bit of a lapse in discipline and a couple of penalties towards the end.

“We want to be able to use our squad where we can. In terms of the forwards we don’t have a lot of options with injuries and unavailability. The exciting one is Josh Adams getting an opportunity. That’s really looking at the future. When you have to pick a World Cup squad of 33, you’ve got to have players that can play in more than one position and we’ve been wanting to do it for a while so we’ll see how Josh goes in the midfield.

“Fiji are big, powerful and very quick out-wide. The introduction of Alex Cuthbert, along with Louis Rees-Zammit, is an eye on the speed that the Fijians will bring and we need to be able to match that. The offloading game that they bring is certainly different to the South Africans.

“They are a good side. They’re a much-improved side of some of the Fiji teams of old, certainly since when I was involved with Fiji they’ve come a long.”

Wales: 15 Liam Williams (Scarlets), 14 Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys), 13 Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby), 12 Johnny Williams (Scarlets), 11 Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby), 10 Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), 9 Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), 1 Rhys Carré (Cardiff Rugby), 2 Ryan Elias (Scarlets), 3 Tomas Francis (Ospreys), 4 Will Rowlands (Dragons), 5 Adam Beard (Ospreys), 6 Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Rugby – captain), 7 Thomas Young (Wasps Rugby), 8 Taine Basham (Dragons)

Replacements: 16 Bradley Roberts (Ulster), 17 Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), 18 WillGriff John (Scarlets), 19 Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs), 20 Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby), 21 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby), 22 Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears), 23 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)

Fiji: 15. Setareki Tuicuvu, 14. Josua Tuisova, 13. Waisea Nayacalevu, 12. Vilimoni Botitu, 11. Eroni Sau, 10. Ben Volavola, 9. Frank Lomani; 1. Peni Ravai, 2. Sam Matavesi, 3. Mesake Doge, 4. Api Ratuniyarawa, 5. Temo Mayanavanua, 6. Albert Tuisue, 7. Mesulame Kunavula, 8. Vilimae Mata

Replacements: 16. Zuriel Togiatama, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Leeroy Atalifo, 19. Tevita Ratuva, 20. Masivesi Dakuwaqa, 21. Nikola Matawalu, 22. Apisai Naqalevu, 23. Aminiasi Tuimaba

 

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