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Wales make one XV change for Ireland, alter three of their bench

By Liam Heagney
Wales line up versus England in round two (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Warren Gatland has named a Wales team to take on Ireland this Saturday in the Guinness Six Nations that has one XV change from their recent loss away to England.

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The Welsh went down 14-16 at Twickenham on February 10, their second consecutive loss in this year’s tournament, and they now go to the home of the defending champions in Dublin with the fit-again Sam Costelow chosen as their starting out-half.

Costelow, who started in round one against Scotland, takes over from Ioan Lloyd, whose demotion to the bench is one of three alterations to the replacements from London.

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Lloyd’s inclusion as a sub sees Cai Evans omitted. The Twickenham injury to Archie Griffin has also resulted in the naming of Dilon Lewis as the reserve tighthead while replacement back-rower Mackenzie Martin will become Wales’ 1,200 Test player of all time if he debuts. He has taken the bench spot filled the last day by Taine Basham.

Gatland said in a WRU statement: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We have made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

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“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

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Wales (vs Ireland, Saturday)
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)

Replacements:
16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

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