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Navidi starts for Wales in autumn opener

9th November 2017

Josh Navidi will make his first start for Wales on home soil when Australia visit the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

The versatile back-row forward has been one of the most reliable and consistent performers in regional rugby over the last five years but that has often not been enough to force a place in a competitive Welsh back-row.

But following an impressive summer, with starts in the victories over Tonga and Samoa, the Cardiff Blues favourite will take on the Wallabies in the first autumn international.

Alun Wyn Jones will captain the side and is one of seven returning British & Irish Lions to line-up in the starting XV, alongside Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny. 

“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.”

Fellow Cardiff Blues star Kristian Dacey is also included among the replacements.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY AUSTRALIA (Saturday November 11, KO 5.15pm)
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)