Autumn Internationals: Justin Tipuric to lead Wales against New Zealand as Leigh Halfpenny and Ken Owens return | Rugby Union News

Captain Justin Tipuric, Leigh Halfpenny and Ken Owens are key returnees for Wales; Dragons’ Rio Dyer is in line for his first international cap starting on the wing; Alun Wyn Jones is among the replacements and is in line to earn his 154th international cap

Last Updated: 03/11/22 1:30pm


Justin Tipuric has returned following a serious shoulder injury

Justin Tipuric has returned to Wales’ XV for the first time since the 2021 Guinness Six Nations and will lead the outfit against New Zealand on Saturday.

Ken Owens and Leigh Halfpenny are set to make their first appearances for Wales in over a year. Dragons’ Rio Dyer is in line for his first international cap starting on the wing.

Captain Tipuric was sidelined as a result of a serious shoulder injury but returns to join Taulupe Faletau and Tommy Reffell in Wales’ back row.

With debutant Dyer on one wing, Louis Rees-Zammit is named on the other. Halfpenny, who suffered serious knee ligament damage playing for Wales, returns following a 16-month absence from Test rugby to complete the back-three.

Gareth Anscombe and Tomos Williams will link up in the half-backs, as Nick Tompkins and George North join together in midfield for a fourth successive match.

Wales’ Autumn Internationals

Saturday, November 5 Wales vs New Zealand 3.15pm
Saturday, November 12 Wales vs Argentina 5.30pm
Saturday, November 19 Wales vs Georgia 1pm
Saturday, November 26 Wales vs Australia 3.15pm

Gareth Thomas and Tomas Francis will pack down either side of Owens in the front row.

Alun Wyn Jones is among the replacements and is in line to earn his 154th international cap. Christ Tshiunza is poised to earn just his third.

“New Zealand will play with speed, we know that,” Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said.

“The roof is closed so we’re looking forward to a fast, open game and I think Justin (Tipuric) brings that extra bit of speed to the number six jersey. So the combination [of Tipuric, Reffell and Faletau] we think will work well.

“Rio (Dyer) has fitted in really well and really quickly. He’s thriving in this environment. He’s a young man that’s bringing some form with him into camp. He scored some great tries and he’s full of confidence. That means a lot to a young guy playing his first Test match in front of a big crowd. There’s no better way to start your career so we wish him well.”

Wales: 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. George North, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Rio Dyer, 10. Gareth Anscombe, 9. Tomos Williams, 1. Gareth Thomas, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Will Rowlands, 5. Adam Beard, 6. Justin Tipuric (captain), 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Nicky Smith, 18. Dillon Lews, 19. Alun Wyn Jones, 20. Christ Tshiunza, 21. Kieran Hardy, 22. Rhys Priestland, 23. Owen Watkin.

Milestone match for Smith as Foster names NZ side

Aaron Smith is set to surpass Dan Carter as the most capped back in All Blacks history, playing his 113th Test at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

Reserve prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi is in line to earn his 50th international cap and Brad Weber is in line for his first international appearance of the 2022 season.

Aaron Smith will make his 113th international appearance on Saturday

Aaron Smith will make his 113th international appearance on Saturday

Sam Whitelock will lead the outfit from the engine room alongside a fit-again Scott Barrett.

“Playing Wales on the road always represents an exciting challenge,” head coach Ian Foster said.

“We have a number of players returning to the side and we know we will need to play with a high intensity against this physical Welsh team.”

Foster has also confirmed that winger Will Jordan will not take part on this tour due to a persisting vestibular issue.

New Zealand: 15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Sevu Reece, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Jordie Barrett, 11. Caleb Clarke, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Aaron Smith, 1. Ethan de Groot, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Sam Whitelock (c), 5. Scott Barrett, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Dalton Papali’I, 8. Ardie Savea.

Replacements: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18. Fletcher Newell, 19. Tupou Vaa’I, 20. Akira Ioane, 21. Brad Weber, 22. David Havili, Anton Lienert-Brown.



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