Under-pressure Wales boss Wayne Pivac has named an XV to face Ireland on Friday showing just one change from the Six Nations defeat to Scotland in Llanelli. Justin Tipuric was an eleventh-hour absentee from the team that started at Parc Y Scarlets, tonsillitis meaning he gave way to James Davies on the day of the October 31 match having been originally included to start.

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Healthy again, Tipuric returns to the starting XV in place of Davies – the only change to the team that started in the loss to Scotland. That was Wales’ fifth successive defeat under new boss Pivac who took drastic action over the weekend by sacking defence coach Byron Hayward. 

He has kept the faith, though, with his underperforming XV, with the main nod to post-Scotland freshness visible on the bench where the uncapped Bristol out-half Callum Sheedy has been chosen for the trip to Ireland, the country he represented at age-grade level.  

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“Friday night is the start of a new international season and a new campaign and we are looking forward to getting out there and showing what we can do,” said Pivac, trying not to dwell on the horrible losing streak that has placed questions marks over his own future.

“We have got four matches in the Autumn Nations Cup to perform and we are excited to be kicking the tournament off.” 

Aside from Sheedy’s inclusion among the replacements, there is a recall there for George North after he was dropped from the squad beaten by France on October 24. If he plays it will be his 100th Test cap – he is currently on 96 Wales caps plus three with the British and Irish Lions.

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WALES (vs Ireland, Friday)

1. Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues (10 Caps)

2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (15 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (49 Caps)

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4. Will Rowlands (Wasps) (2 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (140 Caps) (CAPT)

6. Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues) (1 Cap)

7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (77 Caps)

8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (78 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (55 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (85 Caps)

11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (26 Caps)

12. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (23 Caps)

13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (83 Caps)

14. Liam Williams (Scarlets) (64 Caps)

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (91 Caps)

REPLACEMENTS:

16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (29 Caps)

17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (26 Caps)

18. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (42 Caps)

19. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (46 Caps)

20. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (23 Caps)

21. Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues) (28 Caps)

22. Callum Sheedy (Bristol) (*Uncapped)

23. George North (Ospreys) (96 Caps)

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