Wales names team to play Ireland

wru logoCaptain Sam Warburton returns to the Wales starting line-up for their game against Ireland on Saturday as one of three changes from the team that beat Italy last weekend.

Gethin Jenkins also comes back into the team, with Paul James dropping to the bench, from which he could win his 50th cap. Justin Tipuric also lines up amongst the substitutes.

Andrew Coombs starts in the engine room in place of Luke Charteris, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. There is no place for Jonathan Davies in the squad, as Jamie Roberts and Scott Williams continue their partnership in the centres and James Hook and Liam Williams remain the bench options.

“It’s great to bring Sam and Gethin back into the side and it’s a good opportunity for Andrew Coombs to start as well,” said Gatland. “Last weekend was a good hit out for a lot of reasons, but we still have things to work on and we know how important this game is.

“We haven’t lost an away match in the Six Nations since 2011 and we have to have the belief and confidence that we can do it again this weekend. It’s going to be tough, both sides won their opening game, we will have to be physical and take it to them.

“We feel in most tournaments we get stronger as it goes on and that will need to be the case this weekend.”

Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), George North (Northampton Saints), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Andrew Coombs (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Sam Warburton (CAPT – Cardiff Blues), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), James Hook (Perpignan), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

What do you make of the Wales squad? Will they beat Ireland on Saturday?

15 thoughts on “Wales names team to play Ireland

  1. Interesting not picking JD as is widely reported as fit and ready. Logically I’d assume that he’s too rusty to drop straight into this but I can’t help wondering if JD might have made it past that 50/50 call if we weren’t playing BOD in Dublin. It’s just hassle we don’t need in the build up and during the match if JD is also not 100%.

    Will we beat Ireland? No idea.

    1. I think he’s trying to send a message “Even our second best 13 is better than BOD” …. fan those flames!

    1. Can’t decide on the Tipuric call – we’re trying to shoehorn 4 excellent players into 3 spots. Warbs probably shades it for this game for me as it’s away so we’re less likely to be looking for an expansive link man, more likely to be needing double tackles on the Irish pack. Warbs and Tips both played well on Saturday. Undoubtedly Tips will come on at some point, possibly one of those excellent 60 min planned sub things.

        1. Good point Benjit, especially as it is looking increasingly likely that he won’t be playing any mayches for a region next year. Obviously that is an unconscionable idea but it’s a real possibility. Just imagine the Wales captain having no club. Madness.

          1. Well if the Welsh and English clubs/regions wont take him I guess he’ll have to go and play in France. How ironic would that be !

      1. Much as I like Tipuric, I think this is probably the right call. With players like Healy, Henry, Heaslip and O’Mahony (and possibly O’Connell) running at them, Wales are going to need the power in the tackle that Warburton can provide.

        Given Lydiate looked to be getting back to form, its going to be a great back-row battle

        Concern for the Welsh scrum though. Adam Jones seems to a shadow of his previously all-conquering self and to my mind, its been a long while since Jenkins had a good game.

        BTW – can anyone explain to me why all media outlets have suddenly changed from calling Faletau ‘Toby’ to calling him ‘Taulupe’ instead? Was it at his request?

  2. I think its the right choice not picking JD, centres were one of the positives of last week. But I do worry about some creaky props in Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones…and Rhys Webb still on the bench, I thought he was pretty useless in last weeks cameo.

  3. I don’t understand why Gatland would start Warburton. When was the last time he played a full match or started for that matter? I can see him being poor because he will have little to no playing time under his belt since November. Wouldn’t it be better to give him some minutes with the Blues before turning out for Wales, so he actually has a chance to play well? I think actually playing will cure his past issues with form.

    Has he even played for the Blues this season?

    1. Sorry, Warburton will not suffer from the lack of form that has previously plagued him after coming back from injury by playing more minutes at club level.

  4. Well time for the real Crunch. Going to be a bruising game. Most pundits have picked this as the title decider and both teams know it. Really looking forward to it.

  5. Wales with that squad will not be stopped, they are clearly the best in form northern hemisphere side by far and everyone needs to step up to have a chance to win the 6 nations and I don’t think Ireland are up to it

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