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Wales name two new caps to start against Canada, with three more rookies on the bench

By Liam Heagney

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Multiple Lions tour call-ups have resulted in Jonathan Davies being the only player from the Wales starting XV last March versus France who is included in the team to face Canada this Saturday which features two uncapped players and will be Leigh Halfpenny’s 100th Test appearance.

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Tom Rogers and Ben Carter have both been chosen by Wayne Pivac to start at the Principality Stadium, with Gareth Thomas, Taine Basham and Ben Thomas also all set for international debuts if called on from the replacements.

The Davies-skippered team will see Halfpenny win his 96th Wales cap to add to his Lions Test appearances. Halfpenny combines with Scarlets teammate Rogers and Jonah Holmes in the back three, Davies joins Uilisi Halaholo in midfield while Tomos Williams and Callum Sheedy pair up at half-back. 

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In the pack, Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee and Dillon Lewis bring a combined 104 caps to the front row, Will Rowlands partners debutant Carter in an all-Dragons second row, while Ross Moriarty, James Botham and Aaron Wainwright combine in the back row. 

“We are all looking forward to getting back to the Principality Stadium with fans in attendance and Saturday against Canada promises to be a great occasion,” said Wales boss Pivac ahead of their first outing since winning the Guinness Six Nations title. 

“This summer is an important block as we build toward World Cup 2023 and it is great to give five uncapped players opportunities. They have all impressed us in training, deserve a chance and we are looking forward to seeing them step up to the Test arena. At the other end of the scale, you have Leigh Halfpenny making his 100th Test appearance.

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“It is a thoroughly deserved milestone for Leigh and it is made all the sweeter by the fact that his family and so many of our supporters are able to be in attendance.” Ryan Elias, Leon Brown, Josh Turnbull, Kieran Hardy and Nick Tompkins join the debutants among the replacements. 

WALES (vs Canada, Saturday)
1 Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (39 caps)
2 Elliot Dee (Dragons) (37 caps)
3 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby) (28 caps)
4 Ben Carter (Dragons) (Uncapped)*
5 Will Rowlands (Dragons) (7 caps)
6 Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (45 caps)
7 James Botham (Cardiff Rugby) (6 caps)
8 Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (29 caps)
9 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby) (22 caps)
10 Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears) (9 caps)
11 Tom Rogers (Scarlets) (Uncapped)*
12 Jonathan Davies (Capt – Scarlets) (88 caps)
13 Uilisi Halaholo (Cardiff Rugby) (4 caps)
14 Jonah Holmes (Dragons) (5 caps)
15 Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (95 caps)

Replacements
16 Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (17 caps)
17 Gareth Thomas (Ospreys) (Uncapped)*
18 Leon Brown (Dragons) (17 caps)
19 Josh Turnbull (Cardiff Rugby) (10 caps)
20 Taine Basham (Dragons) (Uncapped)*
21 Kieran Hardy (Scarlets) (4 caps)
22 Ben Thomas (Cardiff Rugby) (Uncapped)*
23 Nick Tompkins (Saracens) (10 caps)

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Wales name two new caps to start against Canada, with three more rookies on the bench

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