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Tomos Williams set to win 50th Wales cap against Portugal

First Team News | 13th September 2023

Head coach Warren Gatland has named five Cardiff Rugby players in his Wales senior men’s squad to face Portugal at Stade de Nice in their second pool C match of Rugby World Cup 2023 (Saturday 16 September KO 4.45pm BST / 5.45pm local time live on ITV and S4C).

Tomos Williams starts at scrum-half to win his 50th cap for Wales, while Mason Grady has been picked at outside centre and will make his RWC debut.

Taulupe Faletau will once again start at number eight, while prop Corey Domachowski is on the bench along with last week's try-scorer against Fiji, Josh Adams.

Wales arrived in Nice from Bordeaux on Monday afternoon and have been preparing for this fixture from their match city training base.

Gareth Anscombe makes his first appearance of the 2023 world cup campaign at fly-half.

Dewi Lake, one of four players in the starting line up making their Rugby World Cup debut this weekend, captains the side at hooker. He is joined in the front row by Nicky Smith at loosehead prop and Dillon Lewis at tighthead prop.

In the back three, Leigh Halfpenny is named at fullback to win his 101st cap and feature in his tenth RWC match across three tournaments. Rio Dyer makes his first start of the 2023 edition, joining Louis Rees-Zammit on the wing.

Club teammates Christ Tshiunza and Dafydd Jenkins pair up in the second row with Tshiunza making his first start at lock for Wales.

The back row is made up of Dan Lydiate at blindside flanker who, like Halfpenny, is making his tenth RWC appearance in his third tournament, Tommy Reffell making his first start of this year’s tournament at openside flanker and Faletau at No. 8.

Wales’ replacements include Gareth Davies, Sam Costelow and Adams as the back line cover.

Ryan Elias, Domachowski and Tomas Francis are the front row cover, Adam Beard is the second row cover and Taine Basham, in-line for his world cup debut, is the final forward replacement.

Gatland said: "We’ve made a few changes this week given the six day turnaround.

“This is an opportunity now for this match day 23. I’ve said before, but there’s some great competition within the squad which is what we want to see. There’s a chance now for this group to go out Saturday and to put down their own marker in the tournament.

“We’ve done a thorough debrief of last week’s game and know the areas we need to improve. We have a clear plan of how we want to play on Saturday and it’s about going out there and executing that as we have prepared.

“Portugal are a skillful side and will be raring to go this weekend in their first match of the tournament. We’re excited to get back out there and looking forward to seeing more great support from the travelling fans out in Nice.

Wales senior men’s XV to play Portugal at Stade de Nice. Pool C, Rugby World Cup 2023. Saturday 16 September, KO 4.45pm BST. Live on ITV and S4C.

15. Leigh Halfpenny (unattached / heb glwb – 100 caps)
14. Louis Rees Zammit (Gloucester Rugby / Caerloyw – 28 caps)
13. Mason Grady Cardiff Rugby/ Caerdydd – 4 caps)*
12. Johnny Williams (Scarlets – 6 caps)*
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons / Dreigiau – 10 caps)
10. Gareth Anscombe (Suntory Sungoliath – 35 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby/ Caerdydd – 49 caps)
1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys / Gweilch – 44 caps)
2. Dewi Lake (Ospreys / Gweilch – 9 caps)*
3. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 52 caps)
4. Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 7 caps)*
5. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 8 caps)
6. Dan Lydiate (Dragons / Dreigiau – 71 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers / CaerlÅ·r – 11 caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 101 caps)

Replacements / Eilyddion
16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 35 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski ( Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 3 caps)
18. Tomas Francis (Provence Rugby – 73 caps)
19. Adam Beard (Ospreys / Gweilch – 48 caps)
20. Taine Basham (Dragons / Dreigiau – 13 caps)*
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 70 caps)
22. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 5 caps)
23. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 51 caps)

*player making RWC debut