Seven Cardiff Blues players selected to face New Zealand
Paul James will win his second Welsh cap six years after his international debut when he packs down against New Zealand in the Invesco Perpetual 2009 Series opener at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 7 November (Kick-off 5.15pm).
The Ospreys prop, who can play on both sides of the scrum, made his international debut against Romania in 2003 and packs down at tight-head alongside Scarlets and Lions hooker Matthew Rees and Blues and Lions stalwart Gethin Jenkins at loosehead. Fellow Ospreys Duncan Jones and Huw Bennett provide the cover from the bench.
Dragons second row Luke Charteris partners Osprey Alun Wyn Jones in the second row and the back row combination of Ospreys and Wales captain Ryan Jones at No8 and Blues duo Martyn Williams and Andy Powell on the flanks is selected.
In the backs Osprey James Hook reverts to full-back with team-mate Shane Wiliams and Blues wing Leigh Halfpenny completing the back three. The Blues centre partnership of Tom Shanklin (outside) and Jamie Roberts is re-united with Gareth Cooper (Blues) joining Scarlet Stephen Jones at half-back.
Three Scarlets make the bench, with Dafydd Jones providing back row cover and Jonathan Davies in line to win his third cap at centre and scrum-half Martin Roberts set to win his second cap. Hooker Huw Bennett joins fellow Osprey Jones and Blues duo Bradley Davies (second row) and Tom James (wing) completing the matchday 22.
"We wanted Gethin (Jenkins) to start so it was a case of seeing which of the other three props (Jones, James and Osprey Craig Mitchell) stood out in training this week," said Gatland.
"Paul has edged it and we know he won't let us down, he may have just had the one cap but he has been around this Wales squad since making the tour to North America in the summer and at 27-years-old has had plenty of experience and should be coming into his prime as a front row forward.
"Elsewhere the coaches have looked for consistency of selection, we have asked James to play at full-back before and it a boost for any side to be able to have someone of his calibre on the field in whatever position that may be.
"We have an experienced pairing at centre, two exciting wingers and the Lions play-maker running the back line at fly-half, so we think we have a pretty good side out there.
"New Zealand will be looking to get the European part of their tour off to a winning start and were pretty slick in their demolition of Australia at the weekend. We are looking forward to facing them at the Millennium Stadium again and are expecting an exciting game."
Scarlets wing Mark Jones has been ruled out of the rest of the Invesco Perpetual Series with a knee injury he picked up on Sunday. He is currently waiting to see a consultant but is likely to require keyhole surgery
WALES: JAMES HOOK; LEIGH HALFPENNY, TOM SHANKLIN, JAMIE ROBERTS, SHANE WILLIAMS; STEPHEN JONES, GARETH COOPER; GETHIN JENKINS, MATTHEW REES,
PAUL JAMES, ALUN WYN JONES, LUKE CHARTERIS, ANDY POWELL, MARTYN WILLIAMS, RYAN JONES (CAPT)
REPLACEMENTS: HUW BENNETT, DUNCAN JONES, BRADLEY DAVIES, DAFYDD JONES, MARTIN ROBERTS, JONATHAN DAVIES, TOM JAMES
WALES v NEW ZEALAND
15 James HOOK (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,047)
DoB: 27.06.85. 6'0" / 1.83m. 14st 12lbs / 94kgs
International record: 33 caps (W 14, L 18, D 1; 209 pts -
14 Leigh HALFPENNY (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,060)
DoB: 22.12.88. 5'10" / 1.77m. 13st 1lb / 83kgs
International record: 6 caps (W 3, L 3; 26 pts - 4T, 2PG)
13 Tom SHANKLIN (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 993)
DoB: 24.11.79. 6'2" / 1.88m. 15st 9lbs / 99kgs
International record: 63 caps (W 30, L 32, D 1; 100 pts - 20T)
12 Jamie ROBERTS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,057)
DoB: 08.11.86. 6'4" / 1.93m. 16st 10lbs / 107kgs
International record: 12 caps (W 6, L 6; 5 pts - 1T)
11 Shane WILLIAMS (OSPREYS - Cap No 976)
DoB: 26.02.77. 5'7" / 1.71m. 12st 13lbs / 82kgs
International record: 65 caps (W 32, L 31, D 2; 230 pts - 46T)
10 Stephen JONES (SCARLETS - Cap No 966)
DoB: 08.12.77. 6'1" / 1.86m. 14st 12lbs / 94kgs
International record: 80 caps (W36, L41, D2; 693 pts -
9 Gareth COOPER (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 985)
DoB: 07.05.79. 5'7" / 1.71m. 13st 6lbs / 85kgs
International record: 42 caps (W 20, L 22; 45 pts - 9T)
1 Gethin JENKINS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,006)
DoB: 17.11.80. 6'2" / 1.88m. 18st 13lbs / 120kgs
International record: 68 caps (W 29, L 37, D 2; 15 pts - 3T)
2 Matthew REES (SCARLETS - Cap No 1,033)
DoB: 09.12.80. 6'0" / 1.83m. 17st 1lbs / 108kgs
International record: 30 caps (W 14, L 15, D 1; 10 pts - 2T)
3 Paul JAMES (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,021)
DoB: 13.05.82. 6'1" /1.86m. 17st 6lb / 111kgs
International record: 1 cap (W 1)
4 Alun-Wyn JONES (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,046)
DoB: 19.09.85. 6'5" / 1.96m. 19st 1lbs / 121kgs
International record: 31 caps (W 13, L 18; 20 pts - 4T)
5 Luke CHARTERIS (NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS - Cap No 1,030)
DoB: 09.03.83. 6'9" / 2.06m. 19st 9lbs / 125kgs
International record: 14 caps (W 8, L 6)
6 Andy POWELL (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,061)
DoB: 23.08.81. 6'4" / 1.94m. 17st 6lbs / 111kgs
International record: 8 caps (W 5, L 3)
7 Martyn WILLIAMS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 944)
DoB: 01.09.75. 6'0" / 1.83m. 15st 11lbs / 100kgs
International record: 88 caps (W 41, L 44, D 3; 73 pts - 14T, 1DG)
8 Ryan JONES (OSPREYS, CAPTAIN - Cap No 1,029)
DoB: 13.03.81. 6'5" / 1.96m. 18st 0lbs / 114kgs
International record: 33 caps (W 19, L 13, D 1; 5 pts - 1T)
16 Huw BENNETT (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,017)
DoB: 11.06.83. 6'0" / 1.83m. 17st 0lbs / 108kgs
International record: 23 caps (W 14, L 9)
17 Duncan JONES (OSPREYS - Cap No 997)
DoB: 18.09.78. 6'0" / 1.83m. 17st 8lbs / 112kgs
International record: 54 caps (W 25, L 27, D 2)
18 Bradley DAVIES (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,065)
DoB: 09.01.87. 6'6" / 1.98m. 18st 1lb / 115kgs
International record: 3 caps (W 3)
19 Dafydd JONES (SCARLETS - Cap No 1,008)
DoB: 24.06.79. 6'3" / 1.90m. 17st 5lbs / 110kgs
International record: 41 caps (W 19, L 22; 10 pts - 2T)
20 Martin ROBERTS (SCARLETS - Cap No 1,062)
DoB: 06.06.86. 5'9" / 1.76m. 12st 1lb / 77kgs
International record: 1 cap (W 1)
21 Jonathan DAVIES (SCARLETS - Cap No 1,066)
DoB: 05.04.88. 6'1" / 1.86m. 16st 3lbs / 103kgs
International record: 2 caps (W 2; 10 pts - 2T)
22 Tom JAMES (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,055)
DoB: 17.04.87. 6'2" / 1.88m. 15st 1lb / 96kgs
International record: 5 caps (W 2, L 3; 10 pts - 2T)
Judgement Day III is on target to break the all-time attendance record for a Welsh regional rugby match at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday 25th April, after ticket sales went through the 40,500 mark today.
Cardiff Blues face Zebre in the last Guinness PRO12 game of the season at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, May 16 (kick-off 3pm) - and the ladies of the region are invited to come along and enjoy a special day with the Blues!
Cardiff Blues are hosting a special Open Evening this Wednesday night at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park to give prospective students and parents the chance to discover more about our new and exciting rugby education programme.
Our Cardiff Blues Rugby Camps return this Easter to give children right across our region the opportunity to participate in rugby during the holidays - and after selling out our last two camps you can book NOW to avoid any disappointment!
The players at Cardiff Blues will be hoping to play with some true Gallic flair for the rest of the Guinness PRO12 season - after the region teamed up with a successful French bistrot in the Welsh capital.
Cardiff Blues will be celebrating St David's Day when the region faces Edinburgh Rugby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 12.45pm) - with hundreds of children invited as part of our Regional Schools Day.
Fine footwear retailer The Brogue Trader - one of the official sponsors of Cardiff Blues - is celebrating after being recognised by the British Footwear Association at its annual Footwear Industry Awards.
Battling Cardiff Blues produced a second half performance packed full of character and spirit to push Ulster Rugby all the way in an absorbing Guinness PRO12 encounter at a packed out Kingspan Stadium.
Argentine ace Joaquin Tuculet scored a sensational try in the eighth minute of injury time as Cardiff Blues produced an astonishing finale to snatch victory over Connacht Rugby after an unbelievable Guinness PRO12 encounter.