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Adams wears 13 as Wales kick off title defence

International | 3rd February 2022

Josh Adams is named at outside centre for Wales’ opening Guinness Six Nations clash against Ireland on Saturday (KO 2.15pm).

The Cardiff star will wear the number 13 jersey for the first time on the international stage as Wayne Pivac’s side begin their title defence at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

The only time the British and Irish Lion wing has previously started at outside centre in a competitive encounter was for Cardiff in December’s Heineken Champions Cup clash against Toulouse.

There are two further Blue and Blacks in the starting line-up, with Ellis Jenkins handed the number six jersey and Tomos Williams given the nod at scrum half.

Back row Jenkins, who made a long-awaited return to international rugby over the autumn following a knee injury, will make his first start in the Championship. 

The 14-times capped academy product did feature as a replacement against Italy in 2018, but Saturday will only be his second outing against northern hemisphere opposition in the Wales jersey.

Double Six Nations winner, Tomos Williams, will start at half back alongside captain Dan Biggar, having worn the number nine jersey in five of the last seven Tests.

Lock Seb Davies is named on the bench, having enjoyed a resurgence on the international stage this season, and is joined by club team-mate Dillon Lewis, who impressed as a replacement in last week’s URC win over Leinster.

Liam Williams, who will join the Blue and Blacks in the summer, is named in a back three alongside Johnny McNicholl and Gloucester's Louis Rees-Zammit, who previously represented Cardiff at age grade rugby.

Elsewhere, Ross Moriarty is in-line for his 50th cap from the bench while uncapped Ospreys hooker Dewi Lake is also included amongst the replacements.

Head coach Pivac explained: “We’ve selected Josh Adams at 13. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a while. He’s done it in training and in small doses at the end of a game. We think this is a golden opportunity to answer that question.

“Really pleased for Ross. He’s wrapped to be back in the match day 23 and I think it’s just really around game time at the moment. We think coming off the bench he’ll make an impact, so that’s why we’ve gone that way.

“Really happy for Dewi. He’s a big man, a very good rugby player. Strong over the ball and gives us something in defence as well as his attacking prowess.

“History in Dublin, it’s a hard place to go. There have been some great games in recent years against Ireland. 

“They’re a very, very tough, very physical side. So we know we’re going to have to step up in that area of the game and make sure we do that for 80 mins. We’ve got to be very disciplined and as a result be in there fighting for the right result.”

Wales: Liam Williams (Scarlets – 74 caps); Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets – 8 caps), Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 35 caps), Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 16 caps), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 12 caps); Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 95 caps), captain, Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 29 caps); Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 38 caps), Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 23 caps), Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 60 caps), Will Rowlands (Dragons – 13 caps), Adam Beard (Ospreys – 29 caps), vice-captain, Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Rugby – 14 caps), Taine Basham (Dragons – 7 caps), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 34 caps)

Replacements: Dewi Lake (Ospreys – uncapped), Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 5 caps), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 34 caps), Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby – 13 caps), Ross Moriarty (Dragons – 49 caps), Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 65 caps), Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears – 13 caps), Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 26 caps)