Six Nations 2023: Halfpenny returns for Wales against Ireland

128473454 cdf 070221 be wales v ireland87


Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny made his Wales debut against South Africa in 2008
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 4 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and Radio 5 Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app. Highlights and analysis, Scrum V Six Nations, BBC Two Wales, Sunday, 5 February from 18:00 GMT and later on demand.

Leigh Halfpenny is set to make his first Wales start for 19 months in Saturday’s Six Nations opener against Ireland in Cardiff.

The Scarlets full-back, who has returned from a serious knee injury, is selected with Liam Williams ruled out.

Centre Joe Hawkins, 20, makes his championship debut alongside Ospreys team-mate George North.

Ken Owens captains Wales for the first time on his 87th cap and is one of only two forwards not from the Ospreys.

They include a return to the starting team for Alun Wyn Jones while flanker Jac Morgan, with four tries in his last two Tests, gets the nod at blind-side in a back row completed by British and Irish Lions Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau.

Dragons wing Rio Dyer, who scored tries against Australia and New Zealand in the autumn, replaces the injured Louis Rees-Zammit, ahead of the more experienced Alex Cuthbert who is among the replacements.

Head coach Warren Gatland said: “There’s a mixture of experience [and] younger players.

“We’ve picked Joe at 12. He’s a lovely footballer with some great skills. I thought for his first cap he was outstanding so we’ve given him another opportunity.

“There’s some real competition in the midfield at the moment, so I’m really excited about that.

“We were conscious as well picking the bench. We think we’ve got a bench that can come on and have an impact.”

Halfpenny has played once for Wales since he was carried off against Canada in November 2021, as a replacement in the loss to Georgia in November.

But he is not the only old face named by Gatland who takes charge of Wales for the first time since the bronze medal match at the 2019 World Cup.

Rhys Webb is is among the replacements after a 16-month absence following his move to France and subsequent return.

It is more than six years since Owen Williams and Scott Baldwin last played international rugby, but both are also named on the bench after impressing this season with the Ospreys, who make up 12 of the match-day 23.

At the other end of the scale, Exeter Chiefs forward Dafydd Jenkins and Leicester Tigers flanker Tommy Reffell are set to make their Six Nations debuts as replacements.

More to follow.

Wales: Halfpenny; Adams, North, Hawkins, Dyer; Biggar, T Williams; G Thomas, Owens (capt), Francis, Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Morgan, Tipuric, Faletau.

Replacements: Baldwin, Carre, Lewis, Jenkins, Reffell, Webb, O Williams, Cuthbert.


Source link

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings


    Solving Silo Problems — Permanently

    Raycon Everyday Earbuds Review Featured Gear

    Raycon Everyday Earbuds (E25) Review: Not Just for YouTubers