Jenkins to captain Wales

Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Prop Gethin Jenkins will captain a much-changed Wales team in next Saturday’s Millennium Stadium clash against Fiji.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made eight changes from the side beaten 33-28 by Australia three days ago.

In the pack, Jenkins replaces Paul James, while Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin makes a first Wales start and there are also call-ups for locks Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris, plus openside flanker Justin Tipuric.

Regular skipper Sam Warburton is rested, while behind the scrum there are starts for fit-again centre Scott Williams, fly-half Rhys Priestland and scrum-half Mike Phillips.

Priestland takes over from Dan Biggar, who suffered a groin injury during the Wallabies encounter, and Liam Williams moves from wing to full-back instead of Leigh Halfpenny, who went off with concussion during the Australia game.

Scott Williams was not considered for the Australia game after suffering a hamstring injury during the Scarlets’ European Champions Cup victory over Leicester last month.

But while he now returns alongside Jamie Roberts in midfield, Clermont Auvergne centre Jonathan Davies remains absent as he continues his recovery from shoulder trouble.

Fiji drew 16-16 on their last Millennium Stadium visit four years ago, and Gatland’s selection is a strong one in Wales’ final Test before they tackle world champions New Zealand on November 22.

Uncapped Ospreys prop Nicky Smith is named among the replacements, with places also on the bench for Gloucester fly-half James Hook, who was called into the squad two days ago following Biggar’s injury, and Smith’s fellow Ospreys forward James King.

“We have made a number of changes, but we are going out there with what we think is a strong side to take on Fiji,” Gatland said.

“The whole squad has been working very hard and were pushing for selection last week, so it’s an opportunity for them to start.

“We were pleased with the performance last week, and we will be looking to build on that and get the result we want this weekend.

“We have made some changes, some have been enforced due to injury, but we don’t feel it weakens the side.”

Like Australia, Fiji are also in Wales’ 2015 Rugby World Cup pool, and the South Sea Islanders will arrive in Cardiff after suffering a 40-15 defeat against France in Marseille last Saturday.

Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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