Head coach Wayne Pivac has named a Wales side that combines experience and some of the country’s most exciting young talent for the opening game of the Autumn Nations Series against New Zealand at Principality Stadium.
Captain Alun Wyn Jones will lead his side to the field, in front of a capacity crowd for the first time since February 2019, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in doing so will become the most capped international rugby player [for any country] of all time.
Jones will make his 149th appearance for Wales on Saturday, surpassing Richie McCaw’s record of 148 appearances for New Zealand.
Pivac has named an experienced front row with Scarlets and British & Irish Lions teammates Wyn Jones and Ken Owens joined by Osprey Tomas Francis. It’s an Ospreys second row pairing with Adam Beard lining up alongside captain Jones. The Dragons trio of Ross Moriarty, Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright get the nod in the back row.
Basham will make his first start for Wales having made his international debut against Canada during the summer, scoring a brace of tries.
Cardiff Rugby’s Tomos Williams and Ospreys’ Gareth Anscombe line up at scrum half and outside half respectively. Scarlets centre pairing Johnny Williams and Jonathan Davies take their place in midfield with Cardiff wingers Josh Adams and Owen Lane linking up with Scarlets fullback Johnny McNicholl in the back field.
“The focus for this group has been two weeks of training, they’ve worked really, really hard and it has galvanised them. We’ve been low on numbers this week so it hasn’t been the normal preparation in terms of exact numbers to train against each other, so that’s been a challenge,” said Pivac.
“The guys are really excited but they know it’s a big task at hand. The reality is we’re two years away from a Rugby World Cup and we’re building towards that. We’ve got a Six Nations around the corner to defend, and try to win that tournament again.
“They know it’s a massive challenge ahead. Every young Welsh player when they’re growing up want to play at the Principality in front of 75,000, and if you ask them who they want to play against New Zealand would be one of the top couple of sides they’d choose.
“With injuries and unavailability it’s another great opportunity for players like Taine Basham and Ben Thomas to come into the group and gain valuable experience. They’re going to come away from this test match knowing what it’s like to play one of the best teams in the world.
“To win a World Cup you have to play against teams like New Zealand at some stage in the tournament and you have to win those games. It’s going to be a great experience for those guys who haven’t played a lot of test rugby and they’ll certainly know they’ve been in a match afterwards.”
Wales team to face New Zealand, at Principality Stadium, on Saturday 30th October
15 Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets)
14 Owen Lane (Cardiff Rugby)
13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets)
12 Johnny Williams (Scarlets)
11 Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby)
10 Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys)
9 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby);
1 Wyn Jones (Scarlets)
2 Ken Owens (Scarlets)
3 Tomas Francis )Ospreys)
4 Adam Beard (Ospreys)
5 Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – Capt)
6 Ross Moriarty (Dragons)
7 Taine Basham (Dragons)
8 Aaron Wainwright (Dragons)
16 Ryan Elias (Scarlets)
17 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby)
18 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby)
19 Will Rowlands (Dragons)
20 Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby)
21 Gareth Davies (Scarlets)
22 Rhys Priestland (Scarlets)
23 Ben Thomas (Cardiff Rugby)
Hooker Elliot Dee has been released from the Wales squad due to the neck injury he sustained against the Stormers a fortnight ago. He will now return to his region to continue his rehabilitation.
Cardiff Rugby hooker Kirby Myhill has linked up with the squad at their training camp at the Vale Resort. The former Wales Under 20s captain has made 72 appearances for the capital city side and has led the team on a number of occasions.
England announce exciting Autumn Series
England men will play four home matches at Twickenham Stadium as part of the 2022 Autumn Nations Series.
England will first take on the same two teams that they will face in their opening 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool D fixtures – beginning their campaign against Argentina [Sunday 6 November], followed by Japan [Saturday 12 November].
Eddie Jones’ side will then play New Zealand on Saturday 19 November for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final, where England beat the three-time world champions 19-7.
Their final game is against world champions South Africa [Saturday 26 November]. Last month, in a tightly contested game England beat the Springboks 27-26 with an 80th-minute penalty.
Jones said: “These fixtures will be a really important part of our preparation for the 2023 World Cup.
“It’s almost a mini World Cup in itself and we’re fortunate to have it less than a year before the tournament.
“It will be a good litmus test for the team to see where we are at, culminating in playing first and second in the world.
“We saw how much of a difference having a full Twickenham Stadium was this autumn and we can’t wait to play a series of games against such quality opposition in front of our supporters.”
Hospitality packages are on sale now via EnglandRugby.com/Hospitality and wider ticket details will be issued early in 2022.
Kick off times will be confirmed in coming weeks.
Full fixtures (all KOs TBC)
England v Argentina Sunday 6 November 2022
England v Japan Saturday 12 November 2022
England v New Zealand Saturday 19 November 2022
England v South Africa Saturday 26 November 2022
Garry Ringrose Signs New Three Year IRFU Contract
Ireland centre Garry Ringrose has signed a three year IRFU contract which will see him continue to play with Leinster until the end of the 2024/25 season.
Garry started all three of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures having missed the summer Tests through injury. Garry made his Ireland debut against Canada in the 2016 Guinness November Series and has since represented his country on 37 occasions scoring 10 tries.
A grand slam winner in 2018 Garry also starred on the summer tour of Australia and started four or Ireland’s Rugby World Cup fixtures in Japan in 2019.
The former Ireland U20 has made 90 senior appearances for Leinster scoring 28 tries and has won a European Champions Cup (2018) and four PRO rugby titles (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) with his province.
IRFU High Performance Director, David Nucifora commented,
“Garry has had a tough road with injuries since the World Cup in Japan but he is a top international player who delivers big performances for Ireland and Leinster. He will be an influential figure at both national and provincial level over the coming years.”
Garry Ringrose commented, “Delighted to sign for another three years. It is an exciting time to be involved with Leinster and Ireland. Both squads have ambition to be competing for silverware every year and I’m motivated to do whatever I can to contribute”
World Rugby approves birth right amendment for players to transfer unions
- New process can benefit players and the global competitiveness of rugby
- Fairness and integrity key principles that underpin the framework
- Approval follows extensive discussion and collaboration across the game
- Revised Regulation will apply from 1 January 2022
The World Rugby Council has approved an amendment to the sport’s regulations governing national team representation that will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birth right.
From 1 January, 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised Regulation 8 (eligibility), a player will need to achieve the below criteria:
- The player must stand-down from international rugby for 36 months
- The player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country
- Under the revised Regulation 8 criteria, a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity
After 1 January 2022, any player who meets the above criteria can apply immediately for a transfer.
The Regulation 8 revisions will also align the “age of majority” across 15s and sevens. All players will now be ‘captured’ at 18 years of age to simplify the Regulation and improve union understanding and compliance.
Approval of the amended regulation follows requests by emerging nations and a subsequent wide-ranging consultation process with member unions, regions and International Rugby Players examining the possibility of amending the principle within Regulation that stipulates that a player may only represent one union at international level, save for specific circumstances relating to participation in the Olympic Games.
The benefits of the amendment include:
- Simplicity and alignment: transfers are currently permitted in the context of participation in the Olympics in the sevens game. This amendment will create one aligned, simplified process across the game
- Development of emerging nations: the player depth of emerging nations may be improved by permitting players, who have close and credible links to the “emerging union” through birth or ancestry, to “return” to those unions having previously represented another union
- Player-focused approach: the process recognised the modern rugby environment, including global player movement, the current ability to capture players by selecting them on the bench, and the desire of some players to transfer having been selected a limited number of times for one union. It also examined the impact of any change on the integrity of the international competition landscape.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game. We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game.
“Any player who wishes to transfer will need to have a close and credible link to their new union, namely birth right or parent or grandparent birth right while meeting strong criteria, including a 36-month stand down period. We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first while also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men’s and women’s game.”
World Rugby Vice-Chairman Bernard Laporte added: “We have listened to our membership and honoured our pledge to undertake wide-ranging review of this important regulation. We have consulted, sought feedback from our unions, regions and most importantly to players’ representatives, before making a recommendation to the Council. This change to how international rugby operates will provide transformational opportunities to players with dual backgrounds, providing they meet the key criteria sets out in the Regulation 8.”
International Rugby Players CEO, Omar Hassanein said:“The proposal to change the rules around player eligibility is something that we have worked on over many years with our member associations. Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors’ birth, serving as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole.”