Wales hand Mason Grady debut as Warren Gatland makes nine changes

Leigh Halfpenny starts at fullback for Wales
Leigh Halfpenny starts at fullback for Wales

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made nine changes to the starting line up for the upcoming clash against England to be played in Cardiff on Saturday.

Leigh Halfpenny returns at fullback at the expense of Liam Williams while Louis Rees-Zammit returns from injury to take position at left wing with Josh Adams at right wing.

A new look midfield combination sees Joe Hawkins joined by debutant Mason Grady. As Dan Biggar drops to the bench, Owen Williams takes the kicking responsibility with Tomos Williams at scrum half.

Gatland has recalled Taulupe Faletau and Justin Tipuric with Alun Wyn Jones and Adam Beard slotted at second row. Skipper Ken Owens is joined by Tomas Francis and Gareth Thomas.

“There’s some experience coming back into the side with Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones and also Leigh Halfpenny.

“And then we’re mixing that with giving players an opportunity. Owen Williams coming in at 10 – we need to find out about that 10 position so Owen gets a chance.

“We’ve given Mason Grady a first cap. He’s a big lad, he’s got some really lovely rugby skills and offloading ability. He’s quick, so he’s the kind of centre that I think is going to have it all going forward.

“He’s got a good rugby head on him. He’s still pretty inexperienced so the big message to him has been ‘what’s the biggest thing you need to work on?’ He said keep talking and keep communicating, so that’s been the focus for him and I’ve been really happy with him in training."

Wales XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Mason Grady, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Louis Rees-Zammit, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Christ Tshiunza, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Gareth Thomas

Reserves: 16 Bradley Roberts, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Dafydd Jenkins, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Nick Tompkins