Wales pick uncapped trio to face Barbarians

Harry Robinson evades George North in Wales Six Nations training

Wales v Barbarians

Venue:
Millennium Stadium
Date:
Saturday, 2 June
Kick-off:
14:00 BST
Coverage:
Live on BBC Two Wales, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and online

Wales have named three debutants to face the Barbarians on Saturday, and remain on course to award a 100th cap to veteran flanker Martyn Williams.

Cardiff Blues wing Harry Robinson and Scarlets pair, full-back Liam Williams and prop Rhodri Jones, will all make their debuts.

Flanker Williams, who has won 99 caps, is included among the Welsh replacements.

"We have picked a side on form," said Wales caretaker coach Rob Howley.

If Williams appears from the bench as expected he will be the first Welsh forward to win 100 caps and join Gareth Thomas and Stephen Jones as Wales centurions.

Wales will be without 16 frontline players, who will fly out to Australia before Saturday's match in Cardiff to begin preparations for the first Test against the Wallabies on 9 June.

Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees, who missed the 2011 World Cup due to a shoulder injury, will lead the side out at the Millennium Stadium to make his ninth appearance as captain.

The side features a return to the international set-up for Ospreys duo Andrew Bishop and Dan Biggar for the first time since before the World Cup.

"The Ospreys have been in a rich vein of form and their victory over Leinster last weekend to take the Rabodirect Pro12 title was a boost for the whole of Welsh rugby," said Howley.

"Dan and Andrew have been playing particularly well and we are looking forward to seeing both players in a Welsh shirt again.

"We have picked a side on form, with an eye on bringing players through for the future, but very much with the intention of getting the summer campaign off to a winning start."

Ospreys provide half the pack, with Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Jones in tandem in the second row. Evans will miss the first Test in Australia to get married, while Jones could also miss out in order to attend his sister's wedding.

The back row features Ospreys pair Ryan Jones (number eight) and Justin Tipuric (openside flanker), alongside Scarlets blindside flanker Josh Turnbull.

Saracens prop Rhys Gill joins Rees and debutant Jones in the front row, while Bishop forms a centre partnership with his former Ospreys team-mate, Perpignan's James Hook.

Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams teams up with Biggar and Dragons wing Aled Brew completes the line-up.

"We have an opportunity against the Barbarians to get an important summer series off to a winning start," added Howley.

"We have momentum from the Six Nations and the Ospreys have added to that with a great win in our domestic competition.

"We are now looking for the next step and a victory on home soil against a formidable Barbarians team before we set off for Australia."

Ospreys prop Ryan Bevington will remain in Wales as 23rd man for the Barbarians fixture with the remaining 16 players from the 38-man training squad due to leave for Australia on Thursday to begin preparations for the first Test in Brisbane.

The final members of Wales' tour party, which will total 34 players, will be named at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday immediately after the Baa-Baas game.

TEAM

Wales: Liam Williams (Scarlets); Harry Robinson (Blues), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), James Hook (Perpignan), Aled Brew (Dragons); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Blues); Rhys Gill (Saracens), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, capt), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys)

Replacements: Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Paul James (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Martyn Williams (Blues), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Adam Warren (Scarlets), Will Harries (Dragons)

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