Rob Howley: Wales coach welcomes back Lions trio to face Australia

Leigh Halfpenny, George North and Alex Cuthbert
Lions trio Leigh Halfpenny, George North and Alex Cuthbert all made Rob Howley's 15-man squad to face Australia
Wales Under Armour Test series - Wales v Australia
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 5 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live BBC Wales television and radio commentary; also on the BBC Sport website and app, plus live text commentaries

Wales coach Rob Howley has no doubt about the quality of his back three against Australia despite the loss of Liam Williams to an ankle injury.

Leigh Halfpenny returns for his first cap for 14 months while Alex Cuthbert and George North are on the wing.

"You've got three British Lions in the back three, three potent try-scorers" said Howley.

Williams is due back in training in time to be considered for the Test against Argentina on November 12.

Wide channels

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny missed the 2015 Rugby World Cup after sustaining a knee injury against Italy in September 2015

Halfpenny missed most of the 2015-16 season with a knee injury suffered against Italy in September 2015 while Cuthbert was not fit for the summer 2016 tour of New Zealand and North played only one Test against the All Blacks.

"You forget how long Leigh has been out since that day against Italy, while George missed out on the second and third Test [in New Zealand] as well. I'm delighted to have them back" Howley told BBC Wales Sport.

"Hopefully the challenge for us is to get the ball into the wide channels for those three players to be at their best."

Cardiff Blues wing Cuthbert has been preferred to Newport Gwent Dragons youngster Hallam Amos, who will be on the bench after starting during the summer tour.

"He's a natural try scorer. 15 tries wearing the red jersey and it's good to see him back in the last couple of weeks" said Howley of Cuthbert.

Halfpenny kicks

Halfpenny has been given the nod to resume goal-kicking duties despite the form of Biggar with the boot in the last year.

"Leigh Halfpenny starts, we've spoken to Dan who has done fantastically well," Howley continued.

"The way Dan kicked in the Rugby World Cup, in the [Six Nations] Championship and in New Zealand, we're lucky to have two world-class goal-kickers."

Moriarty switch

Taulupe Faletau
Wales will be without Taulupe Faletau for the Test against Australia

Ross Moriarty is being backed to make a successful transition from flanker to number eight in the absence of regular Taulupe Faletau.

"I think he'll handle it pretty well. His performance in the red jersey, particularly in New Zealand, shows he's probably one of the stand-out players in our squad and he's continued that form for Gloucester.

"There's three [forward] players who haven't been available for selection, and we're delighted with the experience we've got [to replace them]."

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