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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 27 September 2020

Gatland ready to experiment in next week's warm-up against Ireland

After training in Turkish heat, Gatland is expected to give his fringe players a last chance to cement a place in the 31-man squad.

Aaron Shingler grabs a line-out against England.
Aaron Shingler grabs a line-out against England.
Image: David Davies

AFTER SUFFERING A heavy loss in Twickenham, Ireland can expect to face an experimental Wales outfit in their World Cup warm-up clash at Principality Stadium next Saturday with Josh Navidi poised to captain Warren Gatland’s side.

Wales have spent the last week training in 40 degree heat in Turkey and head coach Gatland is expected to use the third warm-up fixture as another chance for his fringe players to lay down a marker. 

Uncapped duo Rhys Carre and Owen Lane are in line to make their Test debuts at loosehead prop and wing respectively with Jarrod Evans getting a run out in the fly-half jersey.

Gatland will announce his final 31-man party for the tournament in Japan next Sunday, just 24 hours after the Ireland game. It means the likes of Hallam Amos, Steffan Evans, Owen Watkin, Scott Williams and Bradley Davies are all in the frame for a last-gasp chance to prove their worth. 

Gatland had long planned to use the Cardiff clash with Ireland as a chance to run the rule over his whole squad and he could make up to 14 changes from the team which beat England 13-6. 

Navidi is poised to lead number 8 after recovering from elbow and hamstring injuries to make an impressive cameo off the bench against England. 

He is set to be joined in the pack by props Carre and Samson Lee, hooker Ryan Elias, and flanker Aaron Shingler. Despite fears his World Cup hopes may have evaporated after he came off early with a concussion against England, James Davies is in the frame to get another chance at openside.

Jake Ball is set to be the only player to retain his place from the England game alongside Bradley Davies at lock. Behind the scrum Scott Williams will play his first Test match since facing Argentina last June after missing the Six Nations with a back injury.

The 28-year-old will link up with his Ospreys midfield partner Watkin with Steffan Evans and Amos alongside Lane in the back three.

Jarrod Evans will make his first Test start at No 10 alongside scrum-half Aled Davies. 
Gatland has previously stated both he and Ireland coach Joe Schmidt had agreed to play weakened sides for this fixture with stronger outfits expected when Wales travel to Dublin on September 7.

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Possible Wales XV v Ireland: Amos; Lane, Watkin, Williams, S Evans; J Evans, A Davies; Carre, Elias, Lee, Ball, B Davies, Shingler, J Davies, Navidi (capt).

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