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Lane set for Test debut as Navidi captains Wales

Blues News | 29th August 2019


Owen Lane will make his Test debut against Ireland on Saturday, as Josh Navidi captains a Wales side containing five Cardiff Blues stars.

The Wales’ Capital Region duo are joined in the starting line up by Jarrod Evans, who makes his first start on the international stage, and summer signing Hallam Amos, with Tomos Williams returning from injury to take his place on the bench.

With Warren Gatland set to name his 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup on Sunday, the clash against Joe Schmidt’s side will be a final opportunity to stake a claim for a spot on the plane to Japan next month.

Academy product, Lane, has been rewarded for his fine form in regional colours last season, which included a run of nine tries in 10 appearances, and is one of two uncapped players in the extended training squad.

The 21-year-old lines up in the back three alongside Scarlets wing, Steff Evans, and Hallam Amos, who has recently made the switch from Dragons to the Arms Park.

The encounter at Principality Stadium will be Amos and Lane’s first involvement in the warm-up matches, with Gatland’s side having already faced England in back-to-back clashes.

Outside half, Evans, will make his first start for Wales’ senior side, with both of his caps to date coming as a replacement, against Ireland and Scotland.

With Gareth Anscombe ruled out of the World Cup due to a knee injury, the Cardiff Blues playmaker will look to a marker down and earn a spot in the 31-man squad, following an impressive campaign for his home region.

Navidi’s appointment as captain is a recognition of his rapid rise on the international stage over the past two years. The Cardiff Blues stalwart, who made his mark off the bench in the win over England last time out, will wear the number eight jersey, is joined by Aaron Shingler and James Davies in the back row.

Meanwhile, scrum half Williams is named amongst the replacements, having recently recovered from a shoulder injury. Another product of the Cardiff Blues academy, the 24-year-old has won seven caps to date, scoring three tries in the process.

Three further Cardiff Blues academy products are included in the matchday 23. Prop, Rhys Carré, who has moved from the Welsh capital to European champions, Saracens, over the summer will also make his Test debut, starting on the loosehead.

It will be a proud moment for the youngster, as he joins close friend and former house mate, Lane, to make his debut on the international stage.

Bradley Davies and Rhys Patchell also came through the ranks at Cardiff Arms Park, but now ply their trade with Ospreys and Scarlets respectively.

"It is a great opportunity for Rhys and Owen, they have worked hard all summer to get to this point so it will be good for them to get their first international caps and put their hands up for RWC selection after the match," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"For Josh, it’s a huge honour to be named captain, he has been hugely consistent for us, he has really impressed in the last couple of seasons and he will lead from the front of Saturday and it is a great compliment for him to be awarded the captaincy.

"Saturday is a really big game for the players and I’m really excited about the challenge for this Welsh team. There is so much at stake in terms of RWC selection and with a number of positions still up for grabs it will be a huge game.”

WALES TEAM TO FACE IRELAND SATURDAY AUGUST 31 (KO 14.30 CHANNEL 4)

15. Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues) (19 Caps)

14. Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues) (*Uncapped)

13. Scott Williams (Ospreys) (57 Caps)

12. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (15 Caps)

11. Steff Evans (Scarlets) (12 Caps)

10. Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (2 Caps)

9. Aled Davies (Ospreys) (18 Caps)

1. Rhys Carre (Saracens) (*Uncapped)

2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (7 Caps)

3. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (40 Caps)

4. Adam Beard (Ospreys) (14 Caps)

5. Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (64 Caps)

6. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (19 Caps)

7. James Davies (Scarlets) (4 Caps)

8. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (CAPT) (17 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (20 Caps)

17. Rob Evans (Scarlets) (35 Caps)

18. Leon Brown (Dragons) (5 Caps)

19. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (34 Caps)

20. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (33 Caps)

21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (7 Caps)

22. Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (11 Cap)

23. Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers) (2 Caps)