Stephen Jones has been left out of Wales’ 28-man squad for the one-off match against Australia.
Jones, the most capped Wales player with 104 Tests, has had to make way for the younger flyhalves, Rhys Priestland and Dan Biggar. After an impressive start to the World Cup, Priestland is likely to start in the pressure position.
Meanwhile, coach Warren Gatland has not hesitated to reinstate Sam Warburton as captain. This decision is particularly interesting given Matthew Rees is fit and available. Rees was the first-choice skipper for the World Cup before he was injured in a warm-up game.
‘As we have gone with the majority of our Rugby World Cup squad, we have maintained continuity by selecting Sam again as captain for this game,’ Gatland said. ‘But it is a significant boost for us to have someone of the experience and stature of Matthew Rees back in the squad which, in turn, means there is considerable competition in the hooker’s position with both Huw Bennett and Lloyd Burns also with us.
‘We have the opportunity to avenge the playoff defeat in New Zealand, but we can also send a message to our Six Nations opponents next year that our World Cup performances should not be seen in isolation and this young squad will continue to be a force to be reckoned with as we build to the next World Cup in 2015.’
Next Saturday’s Test at the Millennium Stadium will also mark Shane Williams last for the Dragons. Overseas-based players like James Hook, Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne weren’t available for selection, as the game falls outside of the IRB-approved Test window, and so clubs aren’t obliged to release their Test players.
Forwards: Scott Andrews, Huw Bennett, Ryan Bevington, Lloyd Burns, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Ian Evans, Lewis Evans, Toby Faletau, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Ryan Jones, Danny Lydiate, Matthew Rees, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (c)
Backs: Dan Biggar, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, Tavis Knoyle, George North, Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Lloyd Williams, Scott Williams, Shane Williams