Half­penny back for Wales for test vs Wal­la­bies

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Wales: Aus­tralia:

Full­back Leigh Half­penny was back for Wales af­ter more than a year out, and Aus­tralia flanker David Po­cock will start at blind­side for the first time in the teams’ test at Mil­len­nium Sta­dium to­mor­row.

Half­penny tore lig­a­ments in his right knee in Septem­ber 2015, in Wales’ last warmup match for the Rugby World Cup, and didn’t re­turn to ac­tion un­til June. Be­sides the Rugby World Cup, he missed the Six Na­tions and the tour of New Zealand in June.

His re­call yes­ter­day, along with right winger Alex Cuth­bert for the in­jured Liam Wil­liams, gives Wales an al­lBri­tish Lions back five. Wil­liams in­jured his left an­kle last month.

Wales was also with­out reg­u­lar cap­tain Sam War­bur­ton, who is still re­cov­er­ing from cheek­bone and neck in­juries; No. 8 Taulupe Fale­tau, who is re­cov­er­ing from lig­a­ment dam­age in his left knee; and lock Alun Wyn Jones, who left the camp be­cause of the death of his fa­ther, Tim.

With­out them, Wales’ start­ing XV boasts 802 caps, and the cap­taincy was passed to prop Gethin Jenk­ins, who will lead Wales for a sev­enth time and third against Aus­tralia.

There were two un­capped play­ers in the re­serves, New­port lock Cory Hill and Ospreys fly­half Sam Davies.

Po­cock has played No. 8 re­cently when fit, but with Dean Mumm sus­pended for the match for strik­ing Brodie Re­tal­lick in the 37-10 loss to New Zealand two weeks ago, Po­cock was moved to No. 6 and Lopeti Ti­mani was brought in at No. 8. Michael Hooper was the open­side flanker.

Coach Michael Cheika re­sisted play­ing Scott Fardy to check Wales’ dual open­side com­bi­na­tion with his own. It meant the back of the li­ne­out was shorter, but Cheika was con­fi­dent Ti­mani, who played lock in Su­per Rugby, would rise to the oc­ca­sion.

Te­vita Kuridrani re­placed the in­jured Samu Kerevi at out­side cen­ter, and New South Wales hooker Tolu Latu could make his de­but from the re­serves be­cause reg­u­lar backup James Han­son broke his jaw in train­ing on Tues­day. Han­son has had an op­er­a­tion and the team was hope­ful he can stay on tour.

Leigh Half­penny, Alex Cuth­bert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Ge­orge North, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Ross Mo­ri­arty, Justin Tipuric, Dan Ly­di­ate, Luke Cha­teris, Bradley Davies, Sam­son Lee, Ken Owens, Gethin Jenk­ins (cap­tain). Re­serves: Scott Bald­win, Nicky Smith, To­mas Fran­cis, Cory Hill, James King, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Hal­lam Amos.

Is­rael Fo­lau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Te­vita Kuridrani, Reece Hodge, Henry Speight, Bernard Fo­ley, Nick Phipps; Lopeti Ti­mani, Michael Hooper, David Po­cock, Adam Cole­man, Rory Arnold, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (cap­tain), Scott Sio. Re­serves: Tolu Latu, James Slip­per, Al­lan Alaala­toa, Rob Sim­mons, Scott Fardy, Nick Frisby, Quade Cooper, Sefa Naivalu.

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