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Cardiff Blues trio retain starting spots for Dublin showdown

International | 6th February 2020

Three Cardiff Blues players have retained their starting spots for Wales’ crucial Guinness Six Nations encounter against Ireland on Saturday (KO 2.15pm).

Last week’s hat-trick hero, Josh Adams, who has scored 10 tries in his last eight competitive international appearances, continues his run in the number 11 jersey.

Tomos Williams, who also played a starring role at Principality Stadium on the opening day, holds on to the number nine jersey while Dillon Lewis starts in an unchanged front row.

Head coach Wayne Pivac has only made a single change from the side that claimed maximum points against Italy on the opening weekend of action.

Saracens centre, Nick Tompkins, who starred from the bench on his debut against Azzurri, is handed the number 13 jersey to make his full debut for Wales.

Tompkins’ inclusion sees George North switch to the wing as Johnny McNicholl drops to the bench.

Cardiff Blues academy product, Rhys Carré, is reintroduced to the bench after serving a three-week suspension, while Owen Williams is included in an international match day squad for the first time since 2017.

“We’ve made just one change after a winning start last weekend,” said Wales head coach Pivac.

“Nick comes into the side, I thought he played exceptionally well when he came on last week so he deserves the start. George, who played really well last weekend at centre, moves back out to the wing.

“On the bench we have a few players back available. Rhys Carre impressed at the RWC and he comes back in. Adam Beard comes in for Cory Hill who picked up a leg injury earlier this week, Gareth (Davies) is fully fit and Owen Williams comes onto the bench and gives us a bit more cover.

“Momentum is important in the Championship. It was nice to get a good winning start under our belts and hopefully we can build on that through the tournament.”

Wales will be targeting their first Six Nations win on Irish soil since 2013, but can head to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium with confidence after remaining undefeated in four of the last five Championship matches against their hosts.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets, 86 caps); George North (Ospreys, 92 caps), Nick Tompkins (Saracens, 1 cap), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets, 26 caps), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues, 22 caps); Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, 80 caps), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues, 17 caps); Wyn Jones (Scarlets, 23 caps), Ken Owens (Scarlets, 74 caps), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues, 23 caps), Jake Ball (Scarlets, 43 caps), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, capt., 135 caps), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons, 19 caps), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, 73 caps), Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, 73 caps)

Replacements: Ryan Elias (Scarlets, 10 caps), Rhys Carré (Saracens, 6 caps), Leon Brown (Dragons, 7 caps), Adam Beard (Ospreys, 20 caps), Ross Moriarty (Dragons, 42 caps), Gareth Davies (Scarlets, 51 caps), Owen Williams (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps), Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets, 1 cap)