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Wales name strong side for World Cup opener against Georgia

Wales have named an experienced side to take on Georgia in their Rugby World Cup opener in Toyota on Monday.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones will equal the record of most test appearances for his country when he draws level with Gethin Jenkins on 129 Welsh caps.

Jones will pack down in the second row alongside Jake Ball with Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi named in the back-row.

Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis comprise the front-row.

Ten of Wales’ starting XV have World Cup experience and that includes at half-back where Gareth Davies will line-up alongside Dan Biggar.

Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies are named in the midfield with Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams named in the back-three for Wales’ opening test.

On the bench Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith and Dillon Lewis are named as the front row replacements with Aaron Shingler and Ross Moriarty completing the forward cover.  

Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell and Leigh Halfpenny complete the matchday 23.

All in all, there are just two changes from the starting side that fell 19-10 to Ireland in their final World Cup warm-up match in Dublin a fortnight ago, with Dee and Moriarty omitted from the starting lineup to make way for Owens and Navidi.

Boasting 979 throughout the side – or 42.6 caps per player – Warren Gatland has named a side which is set to make Georgia’s daunting task of overcoming their European rivals even more formidable.

Slated as heavy favourites for this clash, a win for Wales will set them up nicely as they push for the top qualifying spot from Pool D ahead of Australia.

Wales’ meeting with Georgia in Toyota kicks off at 7:15pm on Monday local time.

WALES TEAM TO FACE GEORGIA:

1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (13 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (67 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (43 Caps)
4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (36 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (128 Caps) (C)
6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (12 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (66 Caps)
8. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (19 Caps)
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (44 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (73 Caps)
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (14 Caps)
12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (18 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (76 Caps)
14. George North (Ospreys) (86 Caps)
15. Liam Williams (Saracens) (58 Caps)

Replacements:
16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (22 Caps)
17. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (31 Caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (15 Caps)
19. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (20 Caps)
20. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (34 Caps)
21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (9 Caps)
22. Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (13 Caps)
23. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (82 Caps)

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Wales name strong side for World Cup opener against Georgia