Welsh 'green' rugby line-up for Tonga Test

Jun 14, 2017 - 7:35 AM Veteran rugby centre Jamie Roberts will captain a Wales team featuring eight Test debutants against Tonga on Friday in Auckland.

Roberts, with 94 Test caps, is by far the most-experienced member of a Welsh team missing most of their stars. Several are with the British and Irish Lions squad touring New Zealand, while others are injured.

Three uncapped players - left winger Steffan Evans, lock Seb Davies and back-rower Thomas Young - are included in the starting 15.

Evans was the top try-scorer last season in the Guinness Pro12 competition, while Young was a European Player of the Year nominee.

Halfback Gareth Davies will combine with five-eighth Sam Davies, while Roberts will partner Scott Williams in midfield. Alex Cuthbert will start on the right wing and Auckland native Gareth Anscombe has been named at fullback.

Ellis Jenkins and Cory Allen are the only capped players on the bench.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players to be taking part in this match at Eden Park and we expect them to make the most of it," coach Robin McBryde said.

"We've got an average age of 25 in the match squad, but there are experienced heads in there."

Bristol centre Siale Piutau has been named to lead a strong Tongan team.

Latiume Fosita will play five-eighth outside halfback Tane Tukulua. Cooper Vuna will start on the left wing and Nafi Tuitavake on the right.

Ben Tameifuna is at tight-head prop and veteran Nili Latu will start on the openside flank, bringing 50-Test experience to the Tongan line-up.


Dave Halaifonua, Nafi Tuitavake, Siale Piutau (capt), Vili Tahitua, Cooper Vuna, Latiume Fosita, Tane Tukulua; Valentino Mapapalangi, Nili Latu, Dan Faleafa, Steve Mafi, Leva Fifita, Ben Tameifuna, Paula Ngauamo, Latu Talakai. Res: Suliasi Taufalele, Sila Puafisi, Phil Kite, Sione Tau, Mike Faleafa, Leon Fukofuka, Kali Hala, Kiti Taimani.


Gareth Anscombe, Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts (capt), Steffan Evans, Sam Davies, Gareth Davies; Nicky Smith, Kristian Dacey, Tomas Francis, Seb Davies, Cory Hill, Aaron Shingler, Thomas Young, Josh Navidi. Res: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Ellis Jenkins, Ollie Griffiths, Aled Davies, Owen Williams, Cory Allen.

Source: AAP

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