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This is the Wales team that will face Fiji at the World Cup

07 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Wales head coach Warren Gatland (centre) with co-captains Jac Morgan (left) and Dewi Lake . Photo Ben Birchall. PA Images

Taulupe Faletau will make his first Wales appearance since last season’s Six Nations after recovering from injury to feature against opening World Cup opponents Fiji.

The 100 times-capped number eight missed Wales’ entire World Cup warm-up schedule because of a calf muscle problem, but he goes straight into the starting line-up for Sunday’s Pool C clash in Bordeaux.

Skipper Jac Morgan and Aaron Wainwright join Faletau in the back-row, but Morgan’s co-captain Dewi Lake does not feature in the matchday 23.

Lake suffered a knee injury during Wales’ encounter against England at Twickenham last month.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “The medical team has done a fantastic job getting Dewi back to full fitness.

“He has not had as much training under his belt as the other hookers since he picked up that knock to his knee, so Ryan Elias and Elliot Dee are selected for us for this game.”

Elias starts, while there are also opportunities for the likes of centre Nick Tompkins and scrum-half Gareth Davies.

There are five World Cup debutants in Gatland’s starting line-up, and it will be the fifth successive World Cup for Wales and Fiji to meet each other.


Centre George North, meanwhile, will join a select group of players to feature in four World Cups.

Gatland added: “The squad has worked incredibly hard over the last few months and has been preparing well for Fiji in the last couple of weeks.

“Fiji are a good side with some great individual athletes, and they play with a lot more structure now than maybe they have done traditionally.

“We’ve had some good clarity about what we want to achieve and the way we want to play on the weekend. It’s going to be an exciting contest on Sunday and one that we are relishing.

“The boys are looking sharp, there’s a great environment in this group – players working for each other, enjoying each other’s company.

“We are in a good place and can’t wait to get out there and get our Rugby World Cup campaign under way.

The Wales team to play Fiji in the World Cup Pool C game in Bordeaux on Sunday:

L Williams (Kubota Spears); L Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), G North (Ospreys), N Tompkins (Saracens), J Adams (Cardiff); D Biggar (Toulon), G Davies (Scarlets); G Thomas (Ospreys), R Elias (Scarlets), T Francis (Provence), W Rowlands (Racing 92), A Beard (Ospreys), A Wainwright (Dragons), J Morgan (Ospreys, capt), T Faletau (Cardiff).

Replacements: E Dee (Dragons), C Domachowski (Cardiff), D Lewis (Harlequins), D Jenkins (Exeter), T Reffell (Leicester), T Williams (Cardiff), S Costelow (Scarlets), R Dyer (Dragons).

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