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6 Nations

Wales name team to play Argentina

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Head coach Wayne Pivac has named the Wales senior men’s team to face Argentina in the second round of the Autumn Nations Series.

Wales play Los Pumas under a closed roof at Principality Stadium on Saturday ( KO 5.30pm). The match is live on Amazon Prime, with English and Welsh broadcasts available. There are also highlights on S4C.

Captain Justin Tipuric, who marked his return to international rugby last weekend with a try, starts at openside flanker. Dan Lydiate is selected at blindside flanker. He makes his first appearance in this Autumn Nations Series having started from that position for all three matches in the July Test series against South Africa. Taulupe Faletau is again named at No. 8.

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Dillon Lewis (tight-head prop) will make his 17th start for Wales, joining Gareth Thomas (loose-head prop) and Ken Owens (hooker) in the front row. Adam Beard and Will Rowlands continue their partnership in the second row.

Alex Cuthbert also returns to the Wales starting XV for the first time this autumn taking a position on the wing, with Rio Dyer following up his try-scoring debut against New Zealand with another start in the number 11 jersey.

Louis Rees-Zammit completes the back three with his first international appearance at full back.

Gareth Anscombe, who faced the All Blacks at full back following the late withdrawal of Leigh Halfpenny, will revert to fly half this weekend. Tomos Williams is at scrum half. Nick Tompkins and George North partner up for the fifth time in the centres.

Rhodri Jones (loose-head prop) is named among the replacements and in line to win his first cap since the summer of 2021. Sam Wainwright (tight-head prop), who made his senior international debut during the July Test Series in South Africa, also features on the bench.

Ben Carter and Jac Morgan provide the second and back-row cover respectively, with both having last featured for Wales in the 2022 Guinness Six Nations. Kieran Hardy, Rhys Priestland and Owen Watkin are the replacement backs.

Pivac said: “Last week we had Leigh Halfpenny unavailable at the last minute and we’d trained a certain way so we went with Gareth Anscombe at full back who’s done that before at this level.

“We’re back to Gareth at 10 and we have Louis Rees-Zammit at full back. He’s trained there the entire week. He’s looked good in training and it’s something we’ve explored in the background, so it will be good information going forwards with the Six Nations around the corner and the Rugby World Cup.

“Dillon had done well in South Africa. This is probably the last opportunity to give guys starts and learn as much as we can. Both Dillon and Dan Lydiate have trained well.

“There are some changes among the replacements. There are some niggles that players pick up in games and in training, so some guys have been left out to get themselves 100% right for next week. Some boys we want to have a look at across the competition so in the case of Nicky Smith and Rhodri Jones that’s certainly what we wanted to do the first couple of games.

“We saw last week what Argentina are capable of. They’re a very big team, very strong up front. They have expanded their attacking game and they took an excellent try against England from the set play. They’ve knocked over some big scalps in the last 18 months, New Zealand being one of them.

“They are going to be a big challenge but one we’re looking forward to. After last week’s performance we need a reaction from our team.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Argentina in the Autumn Nations Series. Saturday 12 November, KO 5.30pm GMT. Live on Amazon Prime (English and Welsh broadcasts) with highlights on S4C.
15 Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 20 caps)
14 Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 52 caps)
13 George North (Ospreys – 106 caps)
12 Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 24 caps)
11 Rio Dyer (Dragons – 1 cap)
10 Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 33 caps)
9 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 37 caps);
1 Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 14 caps)
2 Ken Owens (Scarlets – 83 caps)
3 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 42 caps)
4 Will Rowlands (Dragons – 22 caps)
5 Adam Beard (Ospreys – 38 caps)
6 Dan Lydiate (Ospreys – 68 caps)
7 Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 86 caps) captain
8 Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 92 caps)

Replacements
16 Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 31 caps)
17 Rhodri Jones (Dragons – 21 caps)
18 Sam Wainwright (Saracens – 2 caps)
19 Ben Carter (Dragons – 6 caps)
20 Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 3 caps)
21 Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 15 caps)
22 Rhys Priestland (Cardiff Rugby – 53 caps)
23 Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 34 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


6 Nations

Wales team to face Ireland in Dublin named

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Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named the Wales side to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the third round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 24 February (KO 2.15pm live on ITV and S4C).

There is one change to the starting XV that played England at Twickenham on 10 February, with Sam Costelow returning for Wales at fly half.

Among the replacements back-row Mackenzie Martin is in line to win his first senior cap this weekend and would become the 1,200th Wales men’s international.

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Tight-head prop Dillon Lewis would be making his first appearance of this Championship if called on from the bench.

Gatland said: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We’ve made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 24 February KO 2.15pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C.
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain / Capten
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)

Replacements

16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


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6 Nations

Jager and Ahern Join Ireland Squad Ahead Of Wales

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The Ireland squad re-assembled in Dublin on Sunday evening ahead of this weekend’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations Round 3 clash against Wales at Aviva Stadium (Kick-off 2.15pm).

Prop Oli Jager has joined the squad and Thomas Ahern has also linked up with Andy Farrell‘s side at the IRFU High Performance Centre this week.

Iain Henderson picked up a foot injury during Ulster’s URC game away to Ospreys on Sunday and there will be a further update later in the week.

The Ireland Match Day Squad to face Wales at Aviva Stadium will be named on Thursday at 2pm.

Ireland Squad – Wales Week: 

Backs (15):

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht)
Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
James Lowe (Leinster)
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster)

Forwards (21):

Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)*
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster)
Oli Jager (Munster)*
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jeremy Loughman (Garryowen/Munster)
Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(captain)
Tom O’Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)

*Denotes uncapped player

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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6 Nations

O’Connell Gives Update On Keenan As Ireland Return To Training

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Hugo Keenan is Ireland’s main injury concern ahead of Saturday week’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations clash with Wales. The ever-influential full-back took a blow to his left knee during the win over Italy.

Keenan sustained the injury when falling awkwardly in a 52nd-minute tackle from Italian replacement Giosuè Zilocchi. He was replaced shortly afterwards by Harry Byrne, with Jack Crowley switching to the full-back position.

The 27-year-old Dubliner has become central to Andy Farrell’s plans in a short space of time, with his 15s international debut coming just over three years ago. He has accumulated more match minutes than any other player so far during Farrell’s coaching reign.

He has started 38 of Ireland’s last 42 Test matches, and Jimmy O’Brien and Michael Lowry are the only other players who have worn the number 15 jersey during that time.

Asked about Keenan’s likely availability for the third round of the Six Nations, Ireland forwards coach Paul O’Connell said: “Hugo didn’t train today, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the Welsh game yet.

“He’s progressing with his rehabilitation, he was there at training today and took part in the organisational bits, but I have no full update. He’s still available for selection for Wales, but I’m not sure what will happen in the next few days.

“He plays a big role, he’s obviously been injury-free for a long time. He’s an excellent player and in full-back, covering the back-field defensively, he has a lot of work to do in attack as well, recreating our attack by moving side to side.

“There’s a lot of IP (intellectual property) there that we might miss out on if he wasn’t playing. He also plays a big leadership role for us, he’s a very smart guy.

“He’s a problem-solver within the group and highly regarded within the group. Whether he’s there or not, he’ll continue to play that role.”

Keenan has had a strong start to the tournament, with his individual highlights including his try-saving tackles on Damian Penaud, including one which drove the French dangerman back a few feet, and an electric break against Italy from Craig Casey’s kick over the top.

He has an 85.7% tackle success rate, including two dominant hits and a turnover tackle. In attack, he has had gain-line success with two-thirds of his carries in the Championship, and has the team’s best tackle evasion rate of 47.1%.

If the Leinster star is ruled out when Ireland resume their campaign next week, the versatile Ciaran Frawley, Jordan Larmour, Jacob Stockdale, Calvin Nash, or indeed Crowley, could be options to fill the full-back berth.

Larmour, who returned to international action last Sunday for the first time since 2021, made nine starts at full-back between 2018 and 2020. Farrell handed him the number 15 shirt for his first game in charge of Ireland four years ago.

Last August against Italy, Frawley made his debut as a half-time replacement for O’Brien at full-back. He has started six times in the position for Leinster this season, with Stockdale, Nash and Crowley also having provincial experience in the back-field.

As O’Brien and Mack Hansen are also injury-enforced absentees, O’Connell admits that it could provide an opportunity to build more depth in that area if Keenan is unable to recover in time.

“It’s good for us in some ways because it makes us play someone else there if he doesn’t make it,” commented the Limerick man, who is in his fourth Men’s Six Nations campaign as part of the Ireland coaching group.

“I’m not sure yet, I don’t pay as much attention to the backs, but I’m not sure yet where  Hugo is at. As I said, he was around training today, so we’d be hopeful.”

Meanwhile, Garry Ringrose is on track to play some part against Wales at the Aviva Stadium having returned to training. He missed the opening two rounds due to a shoulder injury.

“Yeah it looks like it, he trained today,” O’Connell said of Ringrose. “We didn’t do a massive session today but he trained today and was in good shape.

“No one else sat out training, no, so they’re all good to go, I believe.”

That includes captain Peter O’Mahony (calf), Tadhg Furlong (calf), and Bundee Aki (knee), who all sat out the 36-0 bonus point victory over Italy as they recovered from their respective knocks.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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