Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Warren Gatland makes 14 changes to Wales squad for Ireland game

Prop Rhys Carre and wing Owen Lane will make their international debuts in Wales' penultimate Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Cardiff

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has rung the changes for the visit of Ireland on Saturday. Reuters
Wales head coach Warren Gatland has rung the changes for the visit of Ireland on Saturday. Reuters

Prop Rhys Carre and wing Owen Lane will make their international debuts for Wales when they host Ireland in their penultimate Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Cardiff on Saturday, head coach Warren Gatland said.

Gatland made 14 changes to the squad that beat England 13-6 earlier this month and the team will be captained by Josh Navidi, with Aaron Shingler and James Davies in the back row alongside him.

Uncapped Carre and Lane have played together for Wales' age-grade sides and Gatland said it was a "great opportunity" for the pair to make an impression before he finalises his 31-man squad for next month's World Cup in Japan.

"They've 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 Rugby World Cup selection after the match," Gatland said in a statement.

"For Josh, it's a huge honour to be named captain. He has been hugely consistent for us ... really impressed in the last couple of seasons and he'll lead from the front of Saturday and it is a great compliment for him to be awarded the captaincy.

"Saturday is a really big game for the players and I'm really excited about the challenge for this Welsh team. There's so much at stake in terms of World Cup selection and with a number of positions still up for grabs it will be a huge game."

The only player to retain his place in the starting XV was James Davies on the back row. Scott Williams, who was released from the Six Nations squad in February due to a back injury, returns to the side.

Carre will play alongside Scarlets' Ryan Elias and Samson Lee in the front row while Jarrod Evans is set to make his first start.

Victory over Ireland would give Wales a 12th successive home win. They have not lost in Cardiff since November 2017.

Meanwhile Ireland will come into the match on the back of a record 57-15 thrashing by England at Twickenham last weekend.

Wales play one more warm-up match away at Ireland on September 7 before flying to Japan where they begin their World Cup Pool D campaign against Georgia on September 23.

Updated: August 29, 2019 04:06 PM

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