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Biggar, Williams And Halfpenny Return To Wales Back-Line

Biggar, Williams And Halfpenny Return To Wales Back-Line

Wales have made three changes to their team to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 2.15pm), with the British & Irish Lions trio of Dan Biggar, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny all returning to the side.

Dan Biggar has recovered from a shoulder injury to make his 61st appearance for his country and will line up alongside Gareth Davies at half-back. Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams join Steff Evans in the back-three, with Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams continuing their centre partnership.

Wales have named an unchanged pack for the trip to Dublin. The all-Scarlets front row of Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Samson Lee feature for a third consecutive game. Cory Hill partners captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row with Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi and Ross Moriarty making up the back row.

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“It is great to be able to bring so much experience back into the starting XV and into the back-line,” said head coach Warren Gatland, who will take charge of Wales for the 100th time. “It is the first week we have had everyone in the ‘green’ in terms of availability which is a nice luxury to have and a positive ahead of what is a very important Test match against a very good Ireland side.

“We have been pleased with the depth we have developed in the back-three and pleased with how those players have gone but having the experience of Dan, Liam and Leigh coming back in is hugely important.

“We have been pleased with how the forward pack has been going and how they have worked as a unit but as always there is pressure for them to perform too.”

Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis are named as the front row replacements with Bradley Davies and Justin Tipuric completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe and George North provide the back-line cover.

WALES Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2018 NatWest 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, February 12, kick-off 2.15pm):

Player/Club/Caps –

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) 75
14. Liam Williams (Saracens) 45
13. Scott Williams (Scarlets) 53
12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) 3
11. Steff Evans (Scarlets) 7
10. Dan Biggar (Ospreys) 60
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) 29
1. Rob Evans (Scarlets) 22
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) 54
3. Samson Lee (Scarlets) 35
4. Cory Hill (Dragons) 12
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (capt) 115
6. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) 15
7. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) 9
8. Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) 19


16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) 4
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) 7
18. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) 28
19. Bradley Davies (Ospreys) 59
20. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) 54
21. Aled Davies (Scarlets) 7
22. Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) 13
23. George North (Northampton Saints) 70