Wales team named to face ACT
Lock Luke Charteris is the only player from Wales 1st Test defeat to Australia in Brisbane on Saturday to be retained in the starting line-up for their midweek clash with ACT Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday night (KO 19.30hrs).
Head coach Rob Howley has rung the changes as his side regroup after the 27-19 loss at the Suncorp Stadium in the first encounter of the three-Test series and called in Melbourne Rebels captain Gareth Delve from outside of his original 34-man squad.
Delve, who won the last of his 11 international caps in March 2010, became the first non-native to captain an Australian Super Rugby side last year and was already in the Southern Hemisphere when he got the call to replace the injured Toby Faletau late last night (Saturday).
Faletau will play no further part in the series after breaking a bone in his hand and is set to fly home for his injury to be reviewed in the next few days.
Meanwhile, the squad has also been buoyed by the arrival of Ospreys lock Ian Evans who joins Delve on the replacements bench, after arriving – also late last night - from his wedding in Greece. Charteris is partnered in the second row by 64-times capped Osprey Alun Wyn Jones, who also assumes the captaincy in place of the rested Sam Warburton.
In the front row Bath-bound Ospreys prop Paul James is partnered by his regional team-mate Richard Hibbard at hooker and Scarlets prop Rhodri Jones, who made his Wales debut just a fortnight ago in the victory over the Barbarians. Scarlets flanker Josh Turnbull forms a back row partnership with his regional team-mate Aaron Shingler, who features at No8, and Ospreys openside specialist Justin Tipuric.
Two more players who made their debuts against the Baa-Baas, Blues wing Harry Robinson and Scarlets full-back Liam Williams, come into the backline with Ospreys centre Ashley Beck also making his second appearance in a Wales shirt after coming on for Scott Williams against the Wallabies on Saturday.
Another Regional partnership is reformed in the centre with the 16-times capped Andrew Bishop joining Beck - and James Hook features at fly-half to add his 64-caps worth of experience to the backline.
Dragons wing Aled Brew and Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb complete the starting line-up. On the bench, Delve and Evans are joined by Scarlets hooker Ken Owens and Saracens prop Rhys Gill as cover for the forwards. Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Lloyd Williams and Alex Cuthbert (both Blues) provide the cover for the backs.
“We are a game down, but we still have all to play for in this series and Tuesday night is the perfect opportunity for this squad of players to move on,” said Wales head coach Rob Howley.
“We have one or two bumps and bruises and we are expecting players to ‘back-up’ after playing a tough Test match and go out there 72hrs later and play for their country. But that is exactly what touring is all about. It will be a test of character for the likes of Luke (Charteris), James (Hook) and Alun Wyn (Jones) who all made significant contributions on Saturday.”
Medical Update: Toby Faletau – see above. George North has a haematoma to his thigh (dead leg), he will have intense treatment over the next couple of days to get him ready for this Saturday’s match. Scott Williams sustained a facial laceration which it is hoped will not prevent him from being available for selection next week.
WALES: Liam Williams; Harry Robinson, Andrew Bishop, Ashley Beck, Aled Brew; James Hook, Rhys Webb; Paul James, Richard Hibbard, Rhodri Jones, Alun Wyn Jones (Captain), Luke Charteris, Josh Turnbull, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Shingler
REPLACEMENTS: Ken Owens, Rhys Gill, Ian Evans, Gareth Delve, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, Alex Cuthbert