Wales continue the hunt for a win in this autumn internationals series as we host the Flying Fijians at the Principality Stadium on Sunday afternoon, 3.15pm kick-off.
So far Wayne Pivac’s men have fallen to a heavy defeat at the hands of New Zealand outside of the test window before narrowly going down to South Africa last weekend as the world champions scored a late try to win 18-23 in Cardiff.
Fiji arrive in the Welsh capital on the back of a somewhat sluggish start to their autumn internationals a week ago as they overcame Spain by a 13-43 scoreline, but actually found themselves trailing 12-13 at the break in Madrid.
They can’t afford a slow start on Sunday though as they bid to overturn a run of four straight defeats at the hands of Wales, the most recent coming in the pool stages of the World Cup two years ago when a Josh Adams hat-trick helped the men in red to a 17-29 on the way to securing qualification for the quarter-finals.
Temporary head coach Gareth Baber, the former Cardiff coach, has made six changes to his Fiji side that won in Madrid last week bringing experience worth 129 caps into the side as Peni Ravai gets the nod at loosehead prop, Api Ratuniyarawa comes into the second row and Viliame Mata is preferred at number eight.
In the backs Frank Lomani is preferred at scrum-half, while Eroni Sau and Josua Tuisova are a new wing partnership.
Fiji: Setareki Tuicuvu, Josua Tuisova, Waisea Nayacalevu, Vilimoni Botitu, Eroni Sau, Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani; Peni Ravai, Sam Matavesi, Mesake Doge, Api Ratuniyarawa, Temo Mayanavanua, Albert Tuisue, Mesulame Kunavula, Vilimae Mata
Replacements: Zuriel Togiatama, Eroni Mawi, Leeroy Atalifo, Tevita Ratuva, Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Nikola Matawalu, Apisai Naqalevu, Aminiasi Tuimaba
In the Wales squad there are five changes to the starting XV as Wayne Pivac largely keeps faith with the pack that went toe-to-toe with South Africa last week, Thomas Young the only new face for the injured Aaron Wainwright as Taine Basham moves around to number eight.
It is in the backs where the interest is though as Kieran Hardy is preferred to Tomos Williams at scrum-half, Johnny Williams returns for Nick Tompkins at inside centre, and Liam Williams jumps Johnny McNicholl at full-back. Finally, Alex Cuthbert makes a return to the international stage on the wing, as Jon Davies drops out and Josh Adams makes a first senior start at outside centre.
Gareth Thomas comes on to the bench to cover loosehead prop, Callum Sheedy does the same at fly-half, Nick Tompkins steps down from the starting XV and Christ Tshiunza could make his debut as either a lock or flanker. Ellis Jenkins captains Wales for the first time in a home test match.
Wales: Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Josh Adams, Johnny Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, Dan Biggar, Kieran Hardy; Rhys Carré, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Ellis Jenkins (c), Thomas Young, Taine Basham
Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, WillGriff John, Christ Tshiunza, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins
On a dry and mild Cardiff day there is no doubt that Wayne Pivac and Stephen Jones will be keen to see their Welsh side shake off the two defeats suffered so far this autumn and play an up-tempo and accurate attacking game that tests a Fiji defence susceptible to conceding line breaks.
It will still be a good test of physicality up front and organisation in defence, but if we can secure good ball at both the scrum and lineout then there is a great chance to get danger men on the ball in space, especially with Josh Adams stepping into midfield.