Wales name squad to take on Australia

 

Wales will head into the first of their three Tests against Australia in
Brisbane on Saturday with 11 of the starting XV that clinched Grand
Slam glory against France in March.

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 last weekend.

A total of 16 players were sent Down Under early for acclimatisation purposes, with all but Ashley Beck named to start the series opener.

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 Beck on the bench.

The only other changes from the Grand Slam winning team see Scarlets centre Scott Williams, who scored the crucial try in the Triple Crown triumph over England at Twickenham, take over from the injured Jamie Roberts at centre, hooker Ken Owens replace his Scarlets team-mate Matthew Rees and Blues lock Bradley Davies pack down with ex-Dragons skipper Luke Charteris in the second row.

Davies has not played for Wales since picking up a six-week ban for a dangerous tackle in the opening victory over Ireland in February. He replaces Wyn Jones, while Charteris moves up off the bench to take over from Ian Evans, who is getting married.

"We are well prepared and looking forward to the challenge this weekend," said Wales caretaker head coach Rob 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."

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has made nine changes after his side lost 9-6 to Scotland on Monday.

There are five newcomers in the pack, including an all-new Waratahs front row, and three more behind the scrum.

Loosehead prop Benn Robinson makes a welcome return to the Test arena after an 18-month absence and fit-again Wycliff Palu gets the nod at number eight.

Teams for first Test, Australia v Wales, in Brisbane on Saturday June 9 (kick-off 1105 BST).

Wales: L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, J Davies, S Williams, G North; R Priestland, M Phillips; G Jenkins, K Owens, A Jones, B Davies, L Charteris, D Lydiate, S Warburton (Captain), T Faletau.

Replacements: M Rees, P James, AW Jones, R Jones, L Williams, J Hook, A Beck.

Australia: A Ashley-Cooper; J Tomane, R Horne, P McCabe, D Ioane; B Barnes, W Genia; B Robinson, T Polota Nau, S Kepu, R Simmons, N Sharpe, S Higginbotham, D Pocock, W Palu.

Replacements: S Moore, B Alexander, D Dennis, M Hooper, N White, A Fainga'a, M Harris.

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