Gareth Anscombe will start his first game at fly-half for Wales against Japan, and Sam Warburton will captain in a side that sees 10 changes from the team that defeated Argentina.
It’s an all-new front-row for Wales with Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin and Samson Lee, who all started on the bench versus Argentina last weekend, called into the starting side.
Cory Hill, who made his debut against Australia in the opening Under Armour Series encounter, packs down alongside Alun Wyn Jones, who will win his 104th cap for Wales, in the second-row. Warburton moves to openside flanker and is joined in the back-row by Ospreys duo Dan Lydiate and James King.
Cardiff Blues duo Lloyd Williams and Anscombe partner at half-back, with the latter making his first start at fly-half for Wales. The experienced pairing of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies line-up for a 46th time in the midfield together for their country.
There is one personnel change in the back-three with Alex Cuthbert coming into the side for George North. Liam Williams starts at full-back with Leigh Halfpenny moving to the wing.
“We have made a number of changes but have named a very experienced side,” said interim head coach Rob Howley.
“Continuity and momentum is important, hence keeping the likes of Alun Wyn, Jon Davies and Sam (Warburton) in the side, but it is also an opportunity for players who were disappointed against Australia to start and for players who have been pushing on selection.
“We have made a change with Liam (Williams) moving to full-back and Leigh (Halfpenny) onto the wing. Leigh has done well at full-back but we are giving an opportunity to Liam, it’s his favourable position, Leigh has played on the wing before they have trained well there and we want to have a look at what this option gives us.
“Japan are a much changed side from the Rugby World Cup but Jamie (Joseph) is developing his team and their recent performances echo the dangers of the RWC with their ability to move the ball wide early and they are a great counter attacking team. It’s important we look at our game and are clinical in what we want to do this weekend.”
On the bench Cardiff Blues trio, Kristian Dacey, Rhys Gill and Scott Andrews provide the front-row cover with Jake Ball and Ross Moriarty completing the forward contingent. Gareth Davies and Sam Davies are joined by uncapped 18-year-old wing Keelan Giles. Giles will become the 11th youngest Wales international if he takes to the field on Saturday.
Wales team to face Japan
Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Alex Cuthbert; Gareth Anscombe, Lloyd Williams; Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Samson Lee, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, James King.
Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Rhys Gill, Scott Andrews, Jake Ball, Ross Moriarty, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Keelan Giles.
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18070029/warburton-skippers-wales-howley-makes-10-changes-japan
Warburton captain as Wales change 10
www.espn.co.uk – RUGBY