Warren Gatland is finally back in his full-time role as Wales’ head coach after the small distraction of the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
Gatland named a 36-man squad at the end of October with included five uncapped players. The squad selection hinted that Gatland may be looking for a more expansive style of play from his team, perhaps after the experiences of the Lions tour to New Zealand where we say Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell as the 10-12 axis in the second and third Tests against the All Blacks.
The 23 man squad for this weekend’s clash against Michael Cheika’s Wallabies sees the 10-12-13 axis made up of Dan Biggar, Owen Williams and Jonathan Davies. Alun Wyn Jones will captain the side and he is among seven Lions in the squad along with Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar, Davies, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny.
Owen Williams, Steff Evans and Josh Navidi will all make their home debuts at the Principality stadium.
Here is the squad in full:
15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (71 Caps)
14. Liam Williams (Saracens) (43 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (64 Caps)
12. Owen Williams (Gloucester) (1 Cap)
11. Steff Evans (Scarlets) (2 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (56 Caps)
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (26 Caps)
1. Rob Evans (Scarlets) (17 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (50 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (23 Caps)
4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (26 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (CAPT) (Ospreys) (110 Caps)
6. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (10 Caps)
7. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (66 Caps)
16. Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues) (4 Caps)
17. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (14 Caps)
18. Leon Brown (Dragons) (*UNCAPPED)
19. Cory Hill (Dragons) (6 Caps)
20. Sam Cross (Ospreys) (*UNCAPPED)
21. Aled Davies (Scarlets) (2 Caps)
22. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (*UNCAPPED)
23. Hallam Amos (Dragons) (11 Caps)
“We are really looking forward to Saturday and getting the Under Armour Series underway,” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.
“I’m delighted for Steff Evans, Owen Williams and Josh Navidi that they get their first start at home, the atmosphere will be fantastic and it’s a great opportunity for them.
“It’s going to be a tough first up game, we know that and we need to be up and running. We have a squad that’s packed with talent and is on form and we are excited to see what they can do.”