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Gatland hands out two debuts in experimental Wales team to face Ireland

Saturday will be the head coach’s final game in charge in Cardiff.

WARREN GATLAND HAS handed prop Rhys Carré and wing Owen Lane their Test debuts for Wales in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up clash with Ireland at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff [KO 2.30pm, Channel 4].

Josh Navidi captains the Welsh team from number eight, with Cardiff Blues out-half Jarrod Evans – making his first Test start – set to guide the side in the number 10 shirt.

josh-navidi-with-sean-obrien Josh Navidi captains the Welsh team. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

Loosehead prop Carré, who recently joined Saracens, and the strong-finishing Cardiff Blues wide man Lane will hope to make big impression in what is Gatland’s final game in charge of Wales in Cardiff, as he gets set to leave his role after the World Cup.

With Gatland set to name his final 31-man World Cup squad on Sunday, this is also the last chance for many players to convince their head coach that they should travel to Japan.

Carré is joined in the front row by Ryan Elias and Samson Lee, while Adam Beard and Bradley Davies make up the second row pairing, with Navidi flanked by Aaron Shingler and James Davies in the back row.

Aled Davies and Evans are the halfbacks, while Owen Watkin and Scott Williams line up in midfield, as Steff Evans and Hallam Amos join Lane in the back three.

The likes of Ross Moriarty, Jake Ball, Rhys Patchell and Jonah Adams offer Wales potential impact off the bench.

“It is a great opportunity for Rhys and Owen, they have worked hard all summer to get to this point so it will be good for them to get their first international caps and put their hands up for RWC selection after the match,” said Gatland.

“For Josh, it’s a huge honour to be named captain, he has been hugely consistent for us, he has really impressed in the last couple of seasons and he will lead from the front of Saturday and it is a great compliment for him to be awarded the captaincy.

“Saturday is a really big game for the players and I’m really excited about the challenge for this Welsh team.  There is so much at stake in terms of RWC selection and with a number of positions still up for grabs it will be a huge game.”

Ireland are due to name their team at 1.45pm this afternoon, with Schmidt set to hand Peter O’Mahony the captaincy in a side that also looks likely to include Tadhg Beirne and Will Addison among 12 changes.

Wales (v Ireland):

15. Hallam Amos
14. Owen Lane
13. Scott Williams
12. Owen Watkin
11. Steff Evans
10. Jarrod Evans
9. Aled Davies

1. Rhys Carré
2. Ryan Elias
3. Samson Lee
4. Adam Beard
5. Bradley Davies
6. Aaron Shingler
7. James Davies
8. Josh Navidi (captain)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee
17. Rob Evans
18. Leon Brown
19. Jake Ball
20. Ross Moriarty
21. Tomos Williams
22. Rhys Patchell
23. Jonah Holmes

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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