George North To Take Centre Stage Against Australia
Wales wing George North has switched to centre to face Australia in the World Cup’s Pool A decider on Saturday.
Justin Tipuric is at flanker with Gareth Anscombe at full-back and Paul James takes over from Gethin Jenkins at loose-head.
Liam Williams moves from full-back to wing as North becomes the latest to fill in at outside centre amid injuries.
Jenkins and Dan Lydiate are out of the match squad amid six changes.
Samson Lee has taken the tight-head spot from Tomas Francis and Luke Charteris joins Alun Wyn Jones at lock as Bradley Davies drops out.
Lydiate (eye socket) and Davies (nose) were pre-announcement injury doubts, but coach Warren Gatland said he had a full squad to pick from.
Jake Ball comes on to the bench to cover lock and Ross Moriarty is the preferred back-row option on the bench.
North played centre against Australia in November, 2014, one of the 10 successive games Wales have lost against the Wallabies.
Wales prop Samson Lee came on as a second-half replacement against Fiji
Ospreys lock Jones will win his 99th Wales cap while captain Sam Warburton switches to blind-side flanker to accommodate Tipuric.
“Saturday is another huge encounter and both sides will be coming in with momentum and looking to top Pool A,” said Gatland.
“We have been impressed with Australia so far in this competition and we know a step up is required at Twickenham this weekend.
“It is still all to play for in terms of the knock-out phases.
“We’ve trained well this week, had a full squad to pick from and it is great to welcome back players from injury.”
Injuries prompted Australia to delay naming their team until 11:00 BST on Thursday, 8 October.
WALES TEAM TO PLAY AUSTRALIA
Backs: Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets).
Forwards: Paul James (Ospreys), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing 92), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Capt) (Cardiff Blues), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Priestland (Bath Rugby), James Hook (Gloucester Rugby).
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