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Jenkins to captain Wales in Tongan challenge

15th November 2018

Ellis Jenkins will captain Wales for the second time as they host Tonga in third Test of the 2018 Under Armour Series.

The Cardiff Blues skipper returns to Warren Gatland's starting line-up, having missed the opening clash against Scotland with injury and was a replacement for last weekend's victory over Australia.

Jenkins is joined by Cardiff Blues team-mate Seb Davies in the back row, who slots in at number eight, while Tomos Williams has been given the nod at scrum half, having impressed against the Wallabies.

Davies is called into the Wales squad after recovering from a knee injury, and featured for Cardiff Blues in the recent Guinness PRO14 fixtures against Toyota Cheetahs and Zebre.

Gatland has made a total of 14 changes for Saturday's clash, with Adam Beard the only one to retain his starting place from the Australia clash.

Leicester Tigers wing, Jonah Holmes, will make his Wales debut on the wing, while Dan Biggar has been handed the number 10 jersey, partnering Williams at half back.

Saracens wing, Liam Williams, who could feature for the current English champions at Cardiff Arms Park in December, will reach a half-century of caps for Wales.

The Wales head coach said: “Saturday is a fantastic opportunity for a number of players.

“We are looking forward to the challenge of Tonga.  They had a great win last weekend against the French Barbarians and we know it is going to be a tough, physical challenge.

“We have spoken about creating depth and for us that is all about creating a squad that is full of first-teamers, everyone in the squad capable of starting.  The boys this weekend have to put their hand up for the final match and put pressure on the players who started last weekend.

“Ellis captains the team for the second time whilst making his first start at home and for Wyn [Jones], it is his first start in about nine appearances off the bench.

“It’s important to realise when selecting a team that we look at all these things in terms of experience, starts, depth balance and opportunity, and all that goes into the mix.”

Two Cardiff Blues academy products feature on the bench in the form of Dragons' Cory Hill and Scarlets playmaker, Rhys Patchell.

Wales to face Tonga: Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers); Liam Williams (Saracens), Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Steff Evans (Scarlets); Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues); Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Leon Brown (Dragons), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues, capt), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues)

Replacements: Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Cory Hill (Dragons), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Aled Davies (Ospreys), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors)