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Rugby Union: Moore on home patch as Wales ring changes

Steve Moore will feel well and truly at home when Wales face Romania at The Racecourse, Wrexham, today.

While international rugby will be taking its bow in Wrexham, the second- rower Moore will be returning to familiar territory as he makes his home debut for Wales. Moore, who has just signed for Moseley, was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and moved to Wrexham when he was seven. For the next 13 years home was Green Park, two miles away from The Racecourse.

Moore, his former Swansea club-mate flanker Rob Appleyard and the Pontypridd full-back Kevin Morgan will be playing for their country on home soil for the first time after winning their first caps on Wales' summer tour of north America.

"I was the youngest ever player to appear in the Wrexham first team when league rugby began in Wales in 1990, and I went on to play for Wales Under- 19 a year later," Moore said. "It will be great going back to North Wales to play in such a big game and I guess it won't hit me until I'm back in my home surrounds.

"My dad has organised for a group of 25 family and friends to go to the game and I'm sure it will be a huge occasion. It will be a bit funny playing on a football ground but it won't be my first game at The Racecourse.

"I played football until I was 10 and one season my team, Brickfield United, got to the final of the local junior cup final. We played in front of three, or it might have been four, people at The Racecourse.

"I reckon there might be a few more than that there this time and it would be wonderful for the Welsh team if the ground was full."

The signs are there could be a sell-out for the first home Welsh international played away from Cardiff Arms Park for 43 years. The last time Wales played a home Test outside of the national stadium was in 1954 - 122 home matches ago - when they beat Scotland, 15-3, at Swansea's St Helen's ground.

Moore, who has followed in the footsteps of younger brother Andy in becoming a Wales international, earned his first full cap when he packed down against Canada in Toronto.

Wales today will be fielding just four of the side who finished last season's Five Nations championship match against England. Those missing include the key backs Ieuan Evans, Scott Gibbs, Neil Jenkins and Rob Howley.

The Pontypridd lock Mark Rowley is recalled for his sixth cap after being overlooked for the summer tour, and Leigh Davies, of Cardiff, has been promoted from the replacements' bench to fill the midfield gap left by Gibbs, who has withdrawn with a recurrence of his ankle problems.

"We want to continue the success of the summer tour, which created more competition for places," the Wales coach, Kevin Bowring, said. "With most of the Lions and those players who did not tour because of injuries now fighting for places, there is a healthy state of affairs.

"We have made a number of changes in the front row, second row and an entirely new back row, and we are looking for a more dynamic approach - starting with this match."


at The Racecourse, Wrexham

K Morgan Pontypridd 15 V Maftei Cluj University

W Proctor Llanelli 14 L Colceriu Steaua Bucharest

A Bateman Richmond 13 R Gontineac Pau

L Davies Cardiff 12 G Solomie Timisoara University

G Thomas Bridgend 11 I Rotaru Dinamo Bucharest

A Thomas Swansea 10 S Guranescu Dinamo Bucharest

P John Pontypridd 9 M Iacob Dinamo Bucharest

C Loader Swansea 1 G Vlad Narbonne

B Williams Richmond 2 M Radoi Dinamo Bucharest

D Young Cardiff 3 A Salageanu Dinamo Bucharest

S Moore Moseley 4 T Branza Narbonne, capt

M Rowley Pontypridd 5 V Nedelcu Dinamo Bucharest

R Appleyard Swansea 6 F Corodeanu Steaua Bucharest

N Thomas Bath 8 C Draguceanu Steaua Bucharest

G Jones Cardiff, capt 7 E Septar Farul Constanta

Referee: I Ramage (SRU). Kick-off: 3.0.