Warren Gatland has have handed Test debuts to Owen Lane and Rhys Carre for the Rugby World Cup warm-up games against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.
Cardiff Blues wing Lane and Saracens prop Carre are among 14 changes to the side that beat England two weeks ago in a game that got Wales to the number one spot in the world.
Back-rower Josh Navidi captains Wales for the first time while regional team-mate Jarrod Evans starts at fly-half.
It is the final chance to impress coach Warren Gatland before he names his 31-man World Cup squad on Sunday.
“It is a great opportunity for Rhys and Owen, they have worked hard all summer to get to this point so it will be good for them to get their first international caps and put their hands up for RWC selection after the match,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
“For Josh it’s a huge honour to be named captain, he has been hugely consistent for us, he has really impressed in the last couple of seasons and he will lead from the front on Saturday and it is a great compliment for him to be awarded the captaincy,” Gatland said.
“Saturday is a really big game for the players and I’m really excited about the challenge for this Welsh team. There is so much at stake in terms of RWC selection with a number of positions still up for grabs – it will be a huge game.”
Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler makes his first Wales start for 18 months after two replacement appearances against England, while Adam Beard partners Bradley Davies in the second row.
Hallam Amos lines up at full-back in a back three with Lane and Steff Evans.
Ospreys centres Scott Williams and Owen Watkin have been paired together in the Wales midfield, while Aled Davies joins Evans at half-back.
Rhys Patchell has been named on the bench and Gatland says the Scarlets fly-half and Evans will get a half each to impress in the number 10 jersey in what will probably be a straight shootout to go to Japan alongside Dan Biggar.
Wales: Hallam Amos; Owen Lane, Scott Williams, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans; Jarrod Evans, Aled Davies; Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Samson Lee, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, Josh Navidi.
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Jake Ball, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Jonah Holmes.
Joe Schmidt has made eleven changes from the side that suffered a 57-15 drubbing at the hands of England in Twickenham last Saturday. Only Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Bundee Aki and Jacob Stocdale are retained.
Jack Carty has been handed the no.10 jersey and is partnered by Connacht teammate Kieran Marmion in the half-back pairing. Interestingly, there is no back up out-half named on the bench. Ross Byrne, Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery are Schmidt’s other options at no.10, but with the latter two injured the omission of Byrne would suggest that Joe Schmidt has already made up his mind and Carty will make the 31 man Irish squad for Japan ahead of the Leinster man.
The front row is an all Munster affair with the trio of Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan packing down together. James Ryan is set for his first run out of the summer and will bolster the second row alongside Ulsterman Iain Henderson, as the spotlight will surely be on the lineout after serious failing in this department against the English. Tadhg Beirne comes into the back row at no.6, while captain Peter O’Mahoney moves across to the no.7 slot. Jack Conan gets the nod for the number 8 jersey.
In the backs Bundee Aki is retained and Chris Farrell partners his in the centre, while Jacob Stockdale will be looking for an improved performance on the wing. Andrew Conway gets a chance to impress on the other flank and Ulster’s Will Addison has recovered from back surgery in April in time to show what he can offer.
Schmidt’s side will be looking for a badly needed win to boost morale after a confidence sapping defeat in Twickenham. Expect a big response from Ireland against and understrength Welsh side.
The game will be broadcast live on Channel 4.
- Dave Kilcoyne
- Niall Scanell
- John Ryan
- Iain Henderson
- James Ryan
- Tadhg Beirne
- Peter O’Mahony
- Jack Conan
- Kieran Marmion
- Jack Carty
- Jacob Stockdale
- Bundee Aki
- Chris Farrell
- Andrew Conway
- Will Addison
Replacements:Rory Best, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, Luke McGrath, Garry Ringrose, Dave Kearney.