Thursday 23 November 2017

Williams handed first Wales start for Aussie Test

Wales' Owen Williams. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA
Wales' Owen Williams. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA

Nigel Whittaker

Gloucester back Owen Williams will make his first Test match start when Wales face Australia in Cardiff tomorrow (5.15).

Williams, who was capped as a replacement during Wales's tour match against Tonga earlier this year, lines up at inside centre.

There are also opportunities for Scarlets wing Steff Evans and Cardiff Blues flanker Josh Navidi, with Navidi packing down alongside back-row colleagues Aaron Shingler and Taulupe Faletau.

Liam Williams is on the wing as Leigh Halfpenny retains the number 15 shirt, and there are three uncapped players among the replacements in Dragons prop Leon Brown, plus Ospreys pair Owen Watkin and Sam Cross.

Wales, beaten 12 times in a row by Australia, are without key names such as Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Samson Lee, Rhys Webb and George North.

Elsewhere, Elliot Daly and Anthony Watson have been named on the England wings after Jonny May failed to recover from a hamstring strain for the visit of Argentina tomorrow (3.0).

Daly was expected to miss the clashes with Argentina and Australia because of knee ligament damage but has been passed fit.

England's embarrassment of riches in the second-row means Joe Launchbury must settle for a place on the bench, where he is joined by Jamie George. Dylan Hartley is Eddie Jones' preferred hooker and he continues to lead the team.

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