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Skipper Jones returns as Gatland flexes muscles in Dublin

Skipper Jones returns as Gatland flexes muscles in Dublin

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says World Cup starting XV shirts are up for grabs as he named a strong 23 to face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says World Cup starting XV shirts are up for grabs as he named a strong 23 to face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones returns to the starting line-up for the clash and will pack down with Jake Ball in the second-row, with Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty comprising the back-row.

Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee and Tomas Francis are the starting front-row for Saturday’s game at Aviva Stadium.

Tomos Williams and Rhys Patchell are named at half-back with Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies partnering at centre, while Josh Adams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny form the back-three.

On return from Dublin, Wales will depart for Japan on Wednesday September 11.

“This is our final preparation match so it is important we get enough rugby into us, get rugby ready ahead of our RWC opener against Georgia which is just over two weeks away,” said Gatland.

“It is important we hit the ground running in Japan and we give the players enough time on the field.

“Saturday is the first time these players would have taken to the field as members of the RWC squad, it has been a big week and it is a big opportunity for players to put their hand up and secure spots for the starting XV in Japan.”

Ken Owen, Nicky Smith and Dillon Lewis are named as the front-row cover with Adam Beard and Josh Navidi completing the forward contingent. Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar and Liam Williams provide the backline cover. 

Wales team to face Ireland on Saturday, kick-off 2pm

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (81 Caps)
14. George North (Ospreys) (85 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (75 Caps)
12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (17 Caps)
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (13 Caps)
10. Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (12 Caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (8 Caps)
1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (14 Caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (21 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (42 Caps)
4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (35 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (CAPT) (127 Caps)
6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (11 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (65 Caps)
8. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (33 Caps)

Replacements:
16. Ken Owen (Scarlets) (66 Caps)
17. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (30 Caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (14 Caps)
19. Adam Beard (Ospreys) (15 Caps)
20. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (18 Caps)
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (43 Caps)
22. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (72 Cap)
23. Liam Williams (Saracens) (57 Caps)