Warren Gatland rings the changes to the starting fifteen that faced Australia last weekend ahead of their Test against Georgia. Rhys Webb returns from injury whilst his Ospreys teammate Dan Lydiate captains the side.
Forwards Switch-Up Ahead of Brutal Georgia Clash
The pack set to face Georgia sees eight changes made with Dan Lydiate in charge. Nicky Smith, Kristian Dacey and Leon Brown move up from the bench to start with Cory Hill and Adam Beard starting in the second row.
Alongside Lydiate in the back row, Sam Cross gets his first Welsh start and Seb Davies unusually starts in the number eight jersey.
This has raised questions as to how Wales will cope with slowing down opposition ball, following Genia’s masterclass last Saturday. Luckily for Wales Georgia play a slower, more power-based game and so it will be about fronting up physically more than slowing them down.
New Half-Back Pairing
Rhys Webb returns from injury to start and he will line up with form fly-half Rhys Priestland. Webb is set to play a quicker game than Gareth Davies, delivering the ball much faster.
Priestland outside of him will undoubtedly boost this, with him being an in-form playmaker so far this season with Bath.
Watkin Rewarded For Solid Return
Owen Watkin has been on very solid form for the Ospreys since returning from injury and will line up with injury call-up Scott Williams in midfield. Wales will be looking to get them plenty of ball and use them as an attacking platform.
Williams and Watkin are both very strong runners, but also provide a very steady passing game to get the ball to the back three
Williams Moves To Full Back In Gatland Revelation
Last week, Warren Gatland stated that Liam Williams had spent most of his time on the wing for Saracens and that was the reason for him starting there, with Halfpenny at full back.
To take on Georgia, he has moved him to full back despite Hallum Amos being equally as able to cover the position. Williams will offer much more of a counter attacking threat from full back than Halfpenny and so Welsh fans will rejoice in watching him run from deep.
Alex Cuthbert returns to the squad following a steady season at the Arms Park and will be hoping to regain his Wales form from a few seasons ago.
Elliot Dee will have a chance to gain his first cap providing he plays on Saturday and is joined by fellow front row replacements Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis.
Josh Navidi and Talaupe Faletau make up the back five replacement cover and will hope to make a big impact upon arrival.
Aled Davies gets the bench spot for a second week running with Dan Biggar moving down to a replacement. Biggar will be very eager to get on the field as he needs three more caps before moving to Northampton to be able to remain playing for Wales under the new selection policy.
Owen Williams completes the matchday 23, covering centre and fly half in drastic measures.
As Gatland rings the changes for Georgia he will be hoping that his side doesn’t lose too much momentum, but that he can reward those who may feature less or those who are returning from injury in a game Wales really should be winning.
Nicky Smith, Kristian Dacey, Leon Brown, Adam Beard, Cory Hill, Dan Lydiate, Sam Cross, Seb Davies. Rhys Webb, Rhys Priestland, Hallum Amos, Owen Watkin, Scott Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Liam Williams. Replacements :- Elliott Dee, Wyn Jones, Tomas Francis, Josh Navidi, Talaupe Faletau, Aled Davies, Dan Biggar, Owen Williams.
— Georgian Rugby Union (@GeorgianRugby) November 16, 2017
Wales face Georgia in a 2.30pm kick off at the Principality Stadium this Saturday.
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