There have been two main talking points since Wayne Pivac named his Wales team on Thursday to face Italy in this Saturday’s Six Nations opener. 


One is the controversial decision to start George North at outside centre, opting to keep uncapped Nick Tompkins on the bench. 

While North is an accomplished Test player, few see him as a comfortable centre, as opposed to Saracens’ Tompkins, who is. 

The second is the absence of teenage sensation Louis Rees-Zammit, who misses out on the matchday 23 altogether. 

The hysteria surrounding the Gloucester winger over the past few weeks has barely been seen before for a player so young.

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New Wales coach Wayne Pivac expects a strong start to Six Nations from his team

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It reached fever pitch with the apparent battle with England which ensued, as both nations tried to cap him first. 

The 18-year-old pledged his allegiance to Wales, but much of the Welsh public wanted to see him capped on Saturday. 


Josh Adams was never going to be dropped given his form in red over the past year, but there seems to be a split between who should have started out of Rees-Zammit and Johnny McNicholl, both of whom would be earning their first cap. 

Pivac has opted for the New Zealand-born winger, which is understandable as he not only coached him at the Scarlets, but this is off the back of high-level performances for a while now in contrast to Rees-Zammit’s recent, albeit monumental, rise to fame. 

While some feel the Gloucester wing was worthy of a place on the bench, the outside back spot has been taken by Tompkins, who is perhaps more worthy given the question marks lingering over North at outside centre. 

It had been said that Italy would have been a good opportunity to hand Rees-Zammit his debut, as it usually isn’t as rigorous a Test as the other matches, but the same applies to both McNicholl and Tompkins. Then again, for a player that only turns 19 on Sunday, Rees-Zammit has plenty of time. 

WATCH: The Rugby Pod sets the scene ahead of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations and reflects on yet more Saracens fallout  

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