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Jac Morgan handed captaincy as Wales name squad to face Barbarians

By PA
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 14: Jac Morgan of Wales runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Marcos Kremer of Argentina during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between Wales and Argentina at Stade Velodrome on October 14, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Jac Morgan will captain a team containing 12 Rugby World Cup squad members when Wales tackle the Barbarians in Cardiff on Saturday.

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland fields four players who started the World Cup quarter-final defeat against Argentina last month – Morgan, centre George North, lock Adam Beard and number eight Aaron Wainwright.

Dragons prop Lloyd Fairbrother, 31, makes a first Wales appearance in the non-cap fixture, with wing Tom Rogers and lock Ben Carter also gaining opportunities.

Fairbrother starts in the tighthead position, where Gatland was without the services of France-based pair Tomos Francis and Henry Thomas, Harlequins forward Dillon Lewis, plus injured duo Kieron Assiratti and Leon Brown.

Assiratti was ruled out by an ankle injury, while Brown has a calf muscle problem, meaning call-ups for Fairbrother and Scarlets prop Harri O’Connor, who is among the replacements.

The Principality Stadium encounter is being staged to pay tribute to Wales’ record cap holder Alun Wyn Jones. He retired from Test rugby in May after making 158 Test match appearances for his country.

And joining him in international retirement will be full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who makes his final Wales appearance this weekend. Halfpenny won 101 caps and scored 801 points.

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Gatland said: “Playing a Barbarians side filled with quality players is a good challenge for this group and a chance for players to put their hands up and show what they are about.

“It will be the last game in a Wales jersey for Leigh Halfpenny, but also a chance for fans to see and celebrate Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric playing international rugby one last time.

“We are looking forward to getting back out in front of a home crowd on Saturday.”

Wales team:

Leigh Halfpenny; Tom Rogers, George North, Johnny Williams, Rio Dyer; Sam Costelow, Tomos Williams; Corey Domachowski, Dewi Lake, Lloyd Fairbrother, Ben Carter, Adam Beard, Dan Lydiate, Jac Morgan (c), Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Harri O‘Connor, Teddy Williams, Taine Plumtree, Keiran Hardy, Cai Evans, Mason Grady.

Barbarians:

Ilaisa Droasese (Fiji); Shaun Stevenson (New Zealand), Len Ikitau (Australia), Izaia Perese (Australia), Selestino Ravutaumada (Fiji); Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina), Simione Kuruvoli (Fiji); Joe Moody (New Zealand), Tevita Ikanivere (Fiji), Taniela Tupou (Australia), Rob Leota (Australia), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales, capt), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Michael Hooper (Australia), Rob Valetini (Australia).

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Replacements: Angus Bell (Australia), Asafo Aumua (New Zealand), Peni Ravai (Fiji), Api Ratuniyarawa (Fiji), Tom Hooper (Australia), Lautaro Bazan Velez (Argentina), Ben Donaldson (Australia), Andrew Kellaway (Australia).

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