Few surprises as Wales name team to take on France in first Autumn game

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Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has resisted the temptation to experiment with his team to face France in the first Autumn International this Saturday night in Paris, 8pm kick-off.

The game will serve as a warm-up for the final weekend of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations next week, with Wales hosting Scotland at Parc y Scarlets, and Pivac has largely picked what will likely be the 23 to finish off the competition some seven months later than planned.

Leigh Halfpenny, Josh Adams and George North form the back three that played most of February and March together, while Nick Tompkins and Jon Davies finally link up in the centre after the former only made his debut earlier this year, and the latter returns from injury to play international rugby for the first time since the World Cup.

Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar complete the backs, re-forming the half-back relationship that served Ospreys and Wales for many years before Webb headed for Toulon.

Up front there is a new look front row with Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias and Samson Lee packing down, but with Ken Owens injured and Tomas Francis staying with Exeter for the Gallagher Premiership Final then it comes as little surprise. It is just Carre’s second start for Wales, while Lee wins just his second cap in the last 18 months.

Cory Hill is back to form the second row partnership that helped Wales to a 2019 Grand Slam alongside Alun Wyn Jones who equals Richie McCaw’s world record for test appearances with 148, including British and Irish Lions tests.

In the back row Aaron Wainwright gets the nod on the blindside alongside the regular 7 and 8 duo of Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau, with Josh Navidi absent due to failing return to play concussion protocols.

The bench sees potential debuts for Ospreys hooker Sam Parry and Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit, while Seb Davies could win a first cap for almost two years. Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis and James Davies complete the forward options, while Gareth Davies and Rhys Patchell are the back-up half-backs.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Samson Lee, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Sam Parry, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, James Davies, Gareth Davies, Rhys Patchell, Louis Rees-Zammit

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