Wales Team For Six Nations Opener With Italy At The Principality Stadium
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New Wales boss Wayne Pivac has named his team to take on Italy this weekend in their Six Nations opener.
George North starts in the centre with uncapped winger Johnny McNicholl taking his place on the wing. This will be North’s fifth start at centre in his 92nd Test, with Wales struggling with injuries in midfield.
Tomos Williams is preferred to the returning Rhys Webb at scrum-half with Dan Biggar at ten.
“I’m really happy with the side and really looking forward to this weekend,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“It is great for Johnny McNicholl to get his first cap, I thought he played really well against the Barbarians so it is a great opportunity for him this weekend.
“George has had a number of games in the midfield for Wales and more recently for the Ospreys and he has been running there in training. We have been impressed with him there and he is excited by the opportunity.
“Nick (Tompkins) has trained really well and has impressed and we are looking forward to seeing him at some stage during the game.
“We’ve had a couple of injuries, Josh Navidi picked up a hamstring injury so he is out for a few weeks, while Liam Williams, Owen Watkin, Gareth Davies and Elliot Dee weren’t quite ready to be available for selection.
“The whole team has a great vibe and we are looking forward to getting out there in front of our home supporters on Saturday.”
Wales team to face Italy
Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Ross Moriarty, Rhys Webb, Jarrod Evans, Nick Tompkins.