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Wales make five changes for Fiji, name Ellis Jenkins as skipper

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Wales have made five changes to their team to face Fiji this Sunday following last weekend’s unlucky defeat to the Springboks. There is just one change to the starting pack, Thomas Young coming in for the injured Aaron Wainwright with Taine Basham switching to No8. Blindside Ellis Jenkins will skipper the side just a week after he came through his first Test match in three years.

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In the backs, Liam Williams replaces Johnny McNicholl at full-back, Johnny Williams is in for Nick Tompkins at inside centre, Alex Cuthbert is chosen instead of Jonathan Davies (it means Louis Rees-Zammit switches to left wing with Josh Adams taking over at No13), while Kieran Hardy will be the starting scrum-half in place of Tomos Williams. It is Cuthbert’s first Test selection since 2017. On the bench, Christ Tshiunza is in line for his Test debut. 

Speaking about the Exeter Chiefs prospect, Wayne Pivac said: “He has come in, he has trained well and with Ben Carter at 20 years of age and Christ at 19 it is very exciting. We are looking at him as a player in the future who can hopefully cover two positions, in the second row and at six. 

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“We are really looking forward to seeing him out there. He will be full of energy. He is very excited about the opportunity and he is one for the future.

“We want to be able to use our squad where we can. In terms of the forwards, we don’t have a lot of options with injuries and unavailability. The exciting one is Josh Adams getting an opportunity (in the midfield). That is really looking at the future. 

“When you have to pick a World Cup squad of 33, you have got to have players that can play in more than one position and we have been wanting to do it for a while, so we will see how Josh goes in the midfield. Fiji are big, powerful and very quick out wide. The introduction of Alex Cuthbert, along with Louis Rees-Zammit, is an eye on the speed that the Fijians will bring and we need to be able to match that. 

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“The offloading game that they bring is certainly different to the South Africans. They are a good side. They are a much-improved side of some of the Fiji teams of old, certainly since when I was involved.”

WALES (vs Fiji, Sunday)
15 Liam Williams (Scarlets)
14 Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys)
13 Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby)
12 Johnny Williams (Scarlets)
11 Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby)
10 Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints)
9 Kieran Hardy (Scarlets)
1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby)
2 Ryan Elias (Scarlets)
3 Tomas Francis (Ospreys)
4 Will Rowlands (Dragons)
5 Adam Beard (Ospreys)
6 Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Rugby – captain)
7 Thomas Young (Wasps Rugby)
8 Taine Basham (Dragons)
Replacements
16 Bradley Roberts (Ulster)
17 Gareth Thomas (Ospreys)
18 WillGriff John (Scarlets)
19 Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs – uncapped)
20 Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby)
21 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby)
22 Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears)
23 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)

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