For the Rugby World Cup match against Portugal, Wales coach Gatland makes substitutions.

For the Rugby World Cup match against Portugal, Wales coach Gatland makes substitutions.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made 13 alterations to his starting lineup for Sunday’s World Cup Pool C match against Portugal in Nice.

Gatland made significant changes to the lineup from the group that defeated Fiji 32-26 in the tournament’s opening game, keeping only winger Louis Rees Zammit and No. 8 Taulupe Faletau.

Given the six-day turnaround, “we’ve changed a few things this week,” Gatland said.

“For this match-day 23, this is an opportunity.

As I’ve said before, the squad has some fierce competition, which is exactly what we want to see.

“There is now a chance for this group to play on Saturday and leave their own mark in the competition.

“We thoroughly discussed the game from the previous week and are aware of the areas where we need to improve.

“We have a specific game plan for how we want to play on Saturday, and now it’s just a matter of carrying it out as we have practiced.

“Portugal are a skilled team and will be fired up this weekend in their first game of the tournament,” Gatland continued.

Dewi Lake captains the team at hooker and is one of four starters making their Rugby World Cup debuts this weekend.

Even though he had recovered from a knee injury he sustained in a warm-up match with England, it was felt that the Fiji match came too quickly, so he missed it.

Nicky Smith, a loosehead prop, and Dillon Lewis, a tighthead prop, are seated alongside him in the front row.

While Faletau lines up in the back row with Dan Lydiate and Tommy Reffell, Christ Tshiunza, a teammate from Exeter, will make his international lock debut alongside Dafydd Jenkins.

Lydiate is competing in his third World Cup and is making his tenth appearance, similar to full-back Leigh Halfpenny.

Rees Zammit and Rio Dyer join Halfpenny in the back three, and Johnny Williams and Mason Grady are lined up in the middle, with fly-half Gareth Anscombe, scrum-half Tomos Williams, who earns his 50th cap, and outside scrum-half Tomos Williams.

As back line cover, Wales’ replacements include Josh Adams, Sam Costelow, and Gareth Davies.

Ryan Elias, Corey Domachowski, Tomas Francis, lock Adam Beard, and flanker Taine Basham make up the front row, which defends the forwards.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *