Schmidt wants Wales to pose stern challenge

Simon Lewis looks at how Wales and Ireland shape up ahead of their World Cup warm-up.

Schmidt wants Wales to pose stern challenge

Simon Lewis looks at how Wales and Ireland shape up ahead of their World Cup warm-up.

WALES

Team news

Warren Gatland hands Wales starting debuts to Saracens loosehead prop Rhys Carré and Cardiff wing Owen Lane as the former Welsh age-grade team-mates, both now 21, feature in a much-changed side led by first-time captain Josh Navidi.

Carre, who left Cardiff for Sarries last season, joins a front row alongside Scarlets pair Ryan Elias and Samson Lee.

Ospreys duo Adam Beard and Bradley Davies form the second-row partnership as skipper Alun Wyn Jones is given the weekend off, Gatland making 14 changes to the side which beat England at the Principality Stadium a fortnight ago.

Aaron Shingler and James Davies, the only player retained, are named in the back-row alongside No.8 and captain Navidi.

There is a first start at fly-half for Jarrod Evans, who partners scrum-half Aled Davies while Owen Watkin and Scott Williams form a physical centre partnership and Lane joins a back three also featuring fellow wing Steff Evans and full-back Hallam Amos.

Schmidt wants Wales to pose stern challenge

“We want our set-piece to be tested and we want our set-piece to be good,” Ireland boss Joe Schmidt said of today’s game.

“Wales, Samson Lee is very, very experienced. He’s likely to put a fair bit of pressure on through the tighthead and that’s great for Dave Kilcoyne and Niall Scannell to make sure they’ve got that locked up.

“I think they’ll try to test us with some width. Owen Watkins is a big man, but he’s very skilful. Jarrod Evans is a very nippy, a very good running 10. They will test us through that channel. Owen Watkins is over 100kg, Scott Williams is a big, strong man as well and Hallam Amos is a super athlete.

“We’re going to need to be better connected and deliver there. Across the board, I’d love to see us tested like that.”

IRELAND

Team News

Joe Schmidt retains just four starters from last Saturday’s 57-15 defeat to England at Twickenham.

One of them, Peter O’Mahony, captains the side and is moved from blindside to openside flanker in an untested back row that also features Munster team-mate Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan at No.8 in his first game of the summer.

Iain Henderson remains in the second row with a familiar partner in seasonal debutant James Ryan replacing rookie Jean Kleyn.

Rory Best moves onto the bench for what will be his 119th cap as Niall Scannell gets his chance at hooker in an all-Munster front row also including Dave Kilcoyne and John Ryan.

Connacht half-backs Kieran Marmion and Jack Carty link up, while clubmate Bundee Aki will be at inside centre, partnered with Chris Farrell, in a combination getting its fifth outing.

Full-back Will Addison is another getting his first action of the summer following his full recovery from a back injury and the Ulster star joins wings Andrew Conway and the retained Jacob Stockdale in the back three.

Addison gets his chance

“For Will, it is a really important opportunity, but he has to hit the ground running,” Schmidt said.

“He has trained really well this week and we are very hopeful that he can slot in very quickly. He plays 13, on the wing, he is a very good kicker of the ball, including goal kicking.

“So he becomes that jack of all trades that we might well need but he is a master of a few as well.”

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