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Rugby | Six Nations

Wales go with tried and tested

Wales interim coach Rob Howley has packed the Six Nations champions' side with experienced players and handed a debut to lock Andrew Coombs for the start of their title defence against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday (3:30pmCAT, SA, GMT+2).

Coombs is the only uncapped player in the Welsh lineup which includes the return of prop Adam Jones and lock Ian Evans.

"It's a boost to have Adam and Ian return from injury and it's a great opportunity for Andrew...to show what he can do on this stage," Howley said in a statement on Thursday.

"As a squad we have worked hard over the past two weeks and go into Saturday excited and confident at defending our title. The Six Nations is all about momentum and we know we have to hit the ground running against Ireland," added the former scrumhalf.

Dan Biggar, at flyhalf, is the only change in the backs to the side that started last season's Six Nations with victory over Ireland in Dublin.

Fullback Leigh Halfpenny and wingers Alex Cuthbert and George North, who started all five games for last year's grand slam winners, will combine once more.

Team: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips; 1-Gethin Jenkins, 2-Matthew Rees, 3-Adam Jones, 4-Andrew Coombs, 5-Ian Evans, 6-Aaron Shingler, 7-Sam Warburton (captain), 8-Toby Faletau.

Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Paul James, 18-Craig Mitchell, 19-Olly Kohn, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-James Hook, 23-Scott Williams


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