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Cardiff Blues trio named in Wales starting XV for Guinness Six Nations opener

International | 30th January 2020

Three Cardiff Blues stars have been named in the starting XV for Wales’ 2020 Guinness Six Nations opener against Italy on Saturday (KO 2.15pm).

Dillon Lewis, Tomos Williams and Josh Adams have all been handed starting spots as Wayne Pivac takes charge of his first Guinness Six Nations match.

The trio are joined by outside half Jarrod Evans, who is named on the bench.

A further two players in the matchday 23 have graduated from the Cardiff Blues academy - Leigh Halfpenny, who is handed the number 15 jersey, and Cory Hill, who is named alongside Evans on the bench.

Uncapped Scarlets star, Johnny McNicholl, will make his competitive debut on the wing, while Saracens’ Nick Tompkins is amongst the replacements and will be hoping to pick up his first cap for Wales.

“I’m really happy with the side and really looking forward to this weekend,” said Wales head coach Pivac.

“It is great for Johnny McNicholl to get his first cap, I thought he played really well against the Barbarians so it is a great opportunity for him this weekend.

“George has had a number of games in the midfield for Wales and more recently for the Ospreys and he has been running there in training. We have been impressed with him there and he is excited by the opportunity.

“Nick (Tompkins) has trained really well and has impressed and we are looking forward to seeing him at some stage during the game.

“We’ve had a couple of injuries, Josh Navidi picked up a hamstring injury so he is out for a few weeks, while Liam Williams, Owen Watkin, Gareth Davies and Elliot Dee weren’t quite ready to be available for selection.

“The whole team has a great vibe and we are looking forward to getting out there in front of our home supporters on Saturday.”

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Ross Moriarty, Rhys Webb, Jarrod Evans, Nick Tompkins