Preview: Wales v Tonga

Wales will be looking to keep up their unbeaten record against Tonga as they prepare to welcome the Pacific Island side to the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

Wales will be looking to keep up their unbeaten record against Tonga as they prepare to welcome the Pacific Island side to the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

They have eight victories in eight against their opponents, who are fresh from running in seven tries against the French Barbarians in a 49-38 victory last weekend.

Warren Gatland has made 14 changes to the side who beat Australia last weekend, with only second-rower Adam Beard retaining his starting jersey.

Dan Biggar starts at fly-half and Liam Williams will feature on the wing, while Jonah Holmes’s makes his debut at full-back.

Cardiff Blues number eight Ellis Jenkins will captain the side while prop Wyn Jones makes his first start after having made his name from the bench.

Ma’afu Fia is the only uncapped player in the Tongan side, having retained his place from their win in Bordeaux.

The Pacific Islanders make only one change from that game, with Sitiveni Mafi into the second row for uncapped Sam ‘Ulufonua.

Players based in France, England, Wales and New Zealand are all part of the line-up for Tonga, which is skippered by Bristol centre Siale Piutau.

Wales v Tonga, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, 2.30pm, Saturday November 17

What they said:

Wales head coach Warren Gatland: “We are looking forward to the challenge of Tonga. They had a great win last weekend against the French Barbarians and we know it is going to be a tough, physical challenge.

“We have spoken about creating depth and for us that is all about creating a squad that is full of first-teamers, everyone in the squad capable of starting.

“The boys this weekend have to put their hand up for the final match and put pressure on the players who started last weekend.

“Ellis captains the team for the second time whilst making his first start at home and for Wyn [Jones], it is his first start in about nine appearances off the bench.

“It’s important to realise when selecting a team, that we look at all these things in terms of experience, starts, depth balance and opportunity, and all that goes into the mix.”

Key battle – Tomos Williams v Tane Takulua

Williams will be looking to grab his chance in the nine jersey in what will be his fifth Wales cap.

The Cardiff Blues half-back is looking to catch Gatland’s eye and move up the scrum-half hierarchy going into the Six Nations, as he looks to leapfrog Gareth Davies and Aled Davies.

Takulua was in scintillating form for Tonga as he ran up 24-points in their win against the French Barbarians last week.

The Newcastle scrum-half ran more than 50-metres and grabbed two tries as well as kicking all seven of the conversions on offer.

Key stats

A win would be Wales’ seventh in a row at home, making it their longest run of victories since they notched nine on the bounce between 1997 and 1999.

Tonga have seven wins in their last 11 Tests including two in three so far this year. They lost to Georgia in June but beat Samoa and then grabbed an away win against Fiji – their first since 2011.

Wales have proved hardy opposition when they come up against anyone at the Principality Stadium. Warren Gatland’s side have won 17 of their 21 matches at the stadium.

Wales: 15. Jonah Holmes, 14. Liam Williams, 13. Tyler Morgan, 12. Owen Watkin, 11. Steff Evans, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Tomos Williams, 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Elliot Dee, 3. Leon Brown, 4. Jake Ball, 5. Adam Beard, 6. Aaron Wainwright, 7. Ellis Jenkins (C), 8. Seb Davies

Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Rob Evans, 18. Tomas Francis, 19. Cory Hill, 20. Ross Moriarty, 21. Aled Davies, 22. Rhys Patchell, 23. Josh Adams

Tonga: 15. Vunga Lilo, 14. Viliami Lolohea, 13. Alaska Taufa, 12. Siale Piutau (c), 11. Daniel Kilioni, 10. Kurt Morath, 9. Sonatane Takulua, 1. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 2. Paula Ngauamo, 3. Ma’afu Fia, 4. Leva Fifita, 5. Sitiveni Mafi, 6. Dan Faleafa, 7. Fotu Lokotui, 8. Sione Vailanu

Replacements: 16. Sefo Sakalia, 17. Latu Talakai, 18. Paea Fa’anunu, 19. Onehunga Havili, 20. Mike Faleafa, 21. Leon Fukofuka, 22. Kali Hala, 23. Atieli Pakalani