Leigh Halfpenny made his Wales debut in opposition to South Africa in 2008Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 4 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMTCoverage: Stay on BBC One Wales, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and Radio 5 Sports activities Additional, the BBC Sport web site & app; reside textual content commentary on BBC Sport web site & app. Highlights and evaluation, Scrum V Six Nations, BBC Two Wales, Sunday, 5 February from 18:00 GMT and in a while demand.
Leigh Halfpenny is ready to make his first Wales begin for 19 months in Saturday’s Six Nations opener in opposition to Eire in Cardiff.
The Scarlets full-back, 34, who has returned from a critical knee damage, is chosen with Liam Williams dominated out.
Centre Joe Hawkins makes his championship debut alongside Ospreys team-mate George North.
Ken Owens captains Wales for the primary time on his 87th cap and is certainly one of solely two forwards not from the Ospreys.
They embrace a return to the beginning staff for Alun Wyn Jones whereas flanker Jac Morgan, with 4 tries in his final two Assessments, will get the nod at blind-side in a again row accomplished by British and Irish Lions Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau.
Dragons wing Rio Dyer, who scored tries in opposition to Australia and New Zealand within the autumn, replaces the injured Louis Rees-Zammit, forward of the extra skilled Alex Cuthbert who’s among the many replacements.
Whereas the inclusion of 20-year-old Hawkins, forward of Nick Tompkins, is a nod to the longer term with a World Cup on the horizon.
Head coach Warren Gatland stated: “There is a combination of expertise [and] youthful gamers.
“We have picked Joe at 12. He is a beautiful footballer with some nice expertise. I believed for his first cap he was excellent so we have given him one other alternative.
“There’s some actual competitors within the midfield in the intervening time, so I am actually enthusiastic about that.
“We have been acutely aware as properly selecting the bench. We expect we have a bench that may come on and have an effect.”
Halfpenny has performed as soon as for Wales since he was carried off in opposition to Canada in November 2021, as a alternative within the loss to Georgia in November.
However he’s not the one outdated face named by Gatland who takes cost of Wales for the primary time for the reason that bronze medal match on the 2019 World Cup.
Rhys Webb is is among the many replacements after a 16-month absence following his transfer to France and subsequent return.
It’s greater than six years since Owen Williams and Scott Baldwin final performed worldwide rugby, however each are additionally named on the bench after impressing this season with the Ospreys, who make up 12 of the match-day 23.
On the different finish of the size, Exeter Chiefs ahead Dafydd Jenkins and Leicester Tigers flanker Tommy Reffell are set to make their Six Nations debuts as replacements.
Wales have solely crushed Eire as soon as of their previous six conferences with Andy Farrell’s aspect ranked primary on the earth.
Gatland stated: “Eire are going to be coming right here with a whole lot of confidence. You do not turn out to be the primary staff on the earth with out having some fairly constant performances.
“We all know how good they’re and we’re anticipating a extremely powerful contest. It is necessary that we begin properly, however we have to be within the sport on the final 20 minutes.
“We have solely had a few weeks collectively, however I am assured the blokes will give a great account of themselves. They’re fairly enthusiastic about taking part in this primary sport at dwelling.”
Wales: Halfpenny; Adams, North, Hawkins, Dyer; Biggar, T Williams; G Thomas, Owens (capt), Francis, Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Morgan, Tipuric, Faletau.
Replacements: Baldwin, Carre, Lewis, Jenkins, Reffell, Webb, O Williams, Cuthbert.