Wales make 13 changes for second World Cup clash against Portugal

Wales Make 13 Changes For Second World Cup Clash Against Portugal
Warren Gatland, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent, Nice

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made 13 changes to the starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup Pool C encounter against Portugal in Nice.

Gatland retains just two of the side – wing Louis Rees-Zammit and number eight Taulupe Faletau – that overcame Fiji 32-26 in a ferocious contest last weekend.


Co-captain Dewi Lake leads Wales after recovering from a knee injury, while scrum-half Tomos Williams wins his 50th cap and there are first World Cup starts for the likes of centre Mason Grady and lock Christ Tshiunza.

Dewi Lake
Dewi Lake will captain Wales against Portugal (David Davies/PA)

Lake suffered a knee problem during Wales’ World Cup warm-up game against England, but he now returns to pack down alongside front-row colleagues Nicky Smith and Dillon Lewis.


Tshiunza forges an all-Exeter lock partnership alongside Dafydd Jenkins, with fly-half Gareth Anscombe also back after injury.

Grady, meanwhile, is partnered in midfield by Johnny Williams, Leigh Halfpenny wins his 101st cap at full-back and another experienced campaigner – flanker Dan Lydiate – also features.

Prop Henry Thomas is the only player in Wales’ 33-strong World Cup squad who will not have started or been named on the bench across the first two games.

Louis Rees-Zammit
Wing Louis Rees-Zammit scores one of Wales’ tries against Fiji (David Davies/PA)

Wales’ bonus-point success against Fiji has set them up for a repeat performance against Portugal, who are the Pool C minnows.

They are at their first World Cup since 2007, although their pre-tournament form has been reasonable, including a 46-20 victory over the United States.

Gatland said: “We’ve made a few changes this week given the six-day turnaround.


“This is an opportunity now for this matchday 23. I have said before, but there is some great competition within the squad, which is what we want to see.



“There is a chance now for this group to go out Saturday and to put down their own marker in the tournament.

“We’ve done a thorough debrief of last week’s game and know the areas we need to improve.

“We have a clear plan of how we want to play on Saturday, and it is about going out there and executing that as we have prepared.

“Portugal are a skilful side and will be raring to go this weekend in their first match of the tournament. We are excited to get back out there.”

Wales team to play Portugal: L Halfpenny (unattached); L Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), M Grady (Cardiff), J Williams (Scarlets), R Dyer (Dragons); G Anscombe (Suntory Sungoliath), T Williams (Cardiff); N Smith (Ospreys), D Lake (Ospreys, capt), D Lewis (Harlequins), C Tshiunza (Exeter), D Jenkins (Exeter), D Lydiate (Dragons), T Reffell (Leicester), T Faletau (Cardiff).

Replacements: R Elias (Scarlets), C Domachowski (Cardiff), T Francis (Provence), A Beard (Ospreys), T Basham (Dragons), G Davies (Scarlets), S Costelow (Scarlets), J Adams (Cardiff).

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