Owen Williams to start for Wales against Australia

Owen Williams will line up at inside centre for Wales against Australia on Saturday
Owen Williams will line up at inside centre for Wales against Australia on Saturday

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named Gloucester back Owen Williams in the starting line-up for the autumn internationals opening clash against Australia.

Williams made his Welsh debut during the summer tour against Tonga where he came off the bench. Scarlets wing Steff Evans and Cardiff Blues flanker Josh Navidi will also make their first start at home for Gatland's side which will also see seven players from British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand returning - Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny.

Gareth Davies partners Biggar at halfback with Williams named at inside centre alongside Davies while Aaron Shingler earns a recall and will start alongside Faletau.

Dragons' Leon Brown and Ospreys pair Sam Cross and Owen Watkin are in contention to make their debut for Wales from the bench.

Gatland expressed confidence in the squad picked for the series and is hoping to begin the campaign well against the Wallabies on Saturday.

"I am delighted for Steff Evans, Owen Williams and Josh Navidi that they get their first start at home. The atmosphere will be fantastic, and it's a great opportunity for them.

"It's going to be a tough first-up game. We know that, and we need to be up and running.

"We have a squad that is packed with talent and is on form, and we are excited to see what they can do."

Wales XV for the game against Wallabies:

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans

Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Owen Watkin, 23 Hallam Amos

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