Wales name Rhys Priestland at full-back against England

Wales have named Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland at full-back to face England in their first pre-World Cup warm-up game at Twickenham on Saturday.

Gavin Henson and Gareth Delve are not included and at hooker Huw Bennett takes over from injured Matthew Rees.

Injuries also rule out Adam Jones, James Hook, Lee Byrne and Leigh Halfpenny.

Stephen Jones wins a record 101st cap while Danny Lydiate, Toby Faletau and Sam Warburton start in the back-row.

Priestland takes over from fellow Scarlet Morgan Stoddart at full-back having also done duty there for the Scarlets.

There are six changes from the side that lost 28-31 to the Barbarians in June with Jamie Roberts back at inside centre for Henson, Shane Williams taking over from Aled Brew on the wing, Mitchell in for Ryan Bevington and Paul James moving from tight to loose-head.

Warburton led Wales against the Baa-baas and he continues as Rees undergoes treatment to his neck.

Ospreys wing Williams will make his first appearance at any level since injuring a knee against Ireland in the Six Nations.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "We have made changes, but we have some pretty established combinations coming back with Jamie Roberts returning to the midfield and Alun Wyn and Bradley in the second row.

"These are the men in possession of the jersey at the moment and it is now up to them to hold on to it and they will only do that with a performance at Twickenham at the weekend.

"The stakes are high for individuals, but as a team it is also important for us to create some momentum as we head for the World Cup in New Zealand."

A Wales press release also stated: "Gethin Jenkins is considered fit, but is taking extra time to get himself up to 100% and Matthew Rees has had an injection in his neck and will be re-assessed next week.

"Leigh Halfpenny has an ankle injury and is not yet ready to return to action, but is targeting the match against Argentina [on 20 August]."

A toe problem rules out Ospreys prop Adam Jones while Clermont Auvergne-bound Byrne has a knee injury and Perpingan's James Hook a neck worry.

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley said: "It is a tremendous achievement for Stephen, but he had all the well deserved accolades when he won his 100th cap and the spotlight this weekend should really go to Alun Wyn on winning his 50th.

"We are fielding nine of the players who played in the final Six Nations match this year and have some senior men coming back in with Jamie and Shane bringing a wealth of experience.

"At full-back Rhys has done very well for the Scarlets and we have an opportunity to test him now at this level and we are sure he won't let anyone down."

Wales lost 62-5 against England in a World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham four years ago.

The Welsh side that day was an experimental team which included a number of players who were not selected for the 2007 World Cup.

Wales play three friendlies in August. Following this Saturday's trip to Twickenham, Gatland's side will host England at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 13 August before Argentina visit Cardiff on 20 August.

Gatland is due to name his 30-man World Cup squad on Monday, 22 August before hosting reigning champions South Africa in their Pool D opener on Sunday, 11 September in Wellington.

Wales: Rhys Priestland (Scarlets); George North (Scarlets), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Shane Williams; Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Bayonne); Paul James (Ospreys), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Craig Mitchell (Exeter), Bradley Davies (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Danny Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Sam Warburton (Blues, capt).

Replacements: Lloyd Burns (Dragons), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Morgan Stoddart (Scarlets).

Top Stories