In preparation for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, Wales coach Warren Gatland has unveiled a youthful starting XV with three new caps set to make their debut in the first warm-up Test against England this Saturday. Jac Morgan, the Ospreys star, will have the honour of captaining the side for the first time at the senior level. He previously led the Wales U20s team.
Joining Morgan in the back row are Christ Tshiunza at blindside flanker and Aaron Wainwright at No. 8. Cardiff props Corey Domachowski and Kieron Assiratti, along with Gloucester-bound centre Max Llewellyn, will all receive their first caps. Additionally, two new caps have been named among the replacements, with former England tight-head Henry Thomas and new Scarlets signing Taine Plumtree ready to make an impact from the bench.
The coach praised the players’ commitment during the training camps, and now he looks forward to seeing them perform on the pitch at Principality Stadium. Gatland added, “There is some great competition among the squad in all positions, and we’ve selected a team this week with a few debutants because we want to give them the opportunity to see what they can do. There’s a lot to play for over the next three matches, and everyone is still in contention to make that final squad for France.”
In a significant milestone, Leigh Halfpenny will achieve his 100th cap for Wales, an impressive feat considering his debut against South Africa in 2008. Gatland has opted to field the young Scarlets playmaker Sam Costelow in the No. 10 jersey, while the experienced Gareth Davies will take on the scrum-half role.
On Leigh Halfpenny’s milestone Gatland said: “I’d like to make a special mention for Leigh Halfpenny who will win his 100th cap for Wales on Saturday. Reaching this milestone is an incredible achievement and testament to the player and person Leigh is. I know it will be a very special day for him and all his family. There are some tickets still available this weekend and we’d encourage as many fans as possible to come down to celebrate Leigh’s achievement with us and see the new players making their Wales debuts.”
Gatland expressed his confidence in the team’s potential, stating, “We’ve named Jac as captain for this match, and it is a great honor for him to be leading his country. We’ll be looking at probably having a different captain for each of the matches as we give as many as possible in the squad an opportunity to impress, but also mindful about potential combinations as we get closer to naming the World Cup squad.”
This Test match against England marks the first of three warm-up Tests before Wales embarks on their World Cup campaign, starting with a match against Fiji on September 10. Following this encounter, Wales will face England again at Twickenham on Saturday, August 12, and then host defending world champions South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday, August 19.
Wales Starting XV: 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. George North, 12. Max Llewellyn, 11. Rio Dyer, 10. Sam Costelow, 9. Gareth Davies, 1. Corey Domachowski, 2. Ryan Elias, 3. Keiron Assiratti, 4. Dafydd Jenkins, 5. Will Rowlands, 6. Christ Tshiunza, 7. Jac Morgan (capt), 8. Aaron Wainwright.
Replacements: 16. Elliot Dee, 17. Nicky Smith, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Ben Carter, 20. Taine Plumtree, 21. Tomos Williams, 22. Dan Biggar, 23. Mason Grady.
When is it?
England face Wales, in the first of their four World Cup warm-up matches, on Aug 5 at 5.30pm (BST).
Where is the match being played?
Wales will host Borthwick’s side at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. England can expect a cauldron-like atmosphere if the home side opt for the roof to be closed, as is their preference.
What other warm-up matches are England playing?
- Wales vs England, Principality Stadium, Saturday, Aug 5, 5.30pm
- England vs Wales, Twickenham, Saturday, Aug 12, 5.30pm
How to watch on TV
The first match of this summer double-header against England will be broadcast on Amazon Prime (UK).
Amazon Prime Video membership starts at £5.99 a month. Alternatively, the streaming platform offers a free 30-day trial of its full £8.99 a month package, which comes with other benefits including free Amazon delivery. This can be cancelled at any time.