Shane Williams ready for Wales farewell against Australia

Wing Shane Williams has scored 57 tries for Wales
Wing Shane Williams has scored 57 tries for Wales

Shane Williams will win his 87th and final cap for Wales against Australia on Saturday in Cardiff before the 34-year-old retires from Test rugby.

On the other wing George North has been passed fit to face the Wallabies.

The Scarlet had been troubled by a groin injury but has been given the all-clear to face Australia in a rerun of the World Cup bronze medal game.

Open-side Sam Warburton captains Wales, with previous skipper Matthew Rees named on the bench after his injury.

That sees Huw Bennett start at hooker, with Gethin Jenkins and Scott Andrews completing the front row.

Cardiff Blues prop Andrews - who was part of the preliminary World Cup training squad - makes his first start.

Ospreys second row Ian Evans returns to the starting line-up after a three-year absence, having last featured against New Zealand in November 2008.

Tight-head prop Adam Jonesexternal-link and fellow Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones have been ruled out injured, likewise lock Luke Charteris has a wrist problem.

The fear is that the two second rows might even be in danger of missing Wales' opening 2012 Six Nations game against Ireland in Dublin on 5 February.

Dragons pair Toby Faletau and Dan Lydiate complete the back-row alongside captain Warburton.

In the backs a groin problem has ruled out centre Jonathan Davies and he is replaced by his Scarlets colleague Scott Williams, who partners Jamie Roberts in midfield.

Scrum-half Lloyd Williams will make his first start, forming a half-back partnership with fit-again fly-half Rhys Priestland.

Leigh Halfpenny continues at full-back, with the likes of James Hook and Mike Phillips remaining in France to play for their club sides along with Lee Byrne.

England-based prop Craig Mitchell, back-row Andy Powell and scrum-half Dwayne Peel are also unavailable, as the match at the Millennium Stadium falls outside the International Rugby Board's window for Tests.

Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar returns among the replacements alongside his regional colleague, flanker Justin Tipuric, and uncapped Blues wing Alex Cuthbert.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said it would be a great moment for Shane Williams, Wales' record try scorer with 57, to bow out of Test rugby in Cardiff.

"It does not often happen in professional sport that a player gets the opportunity to call time on his international career, then play one last match like this one in front of his home fans and the people he has given so much joy and entertainment to," said Gatland.

"Saturday is a great opportunity for the fans to show Shane what he has meant to them and we all hope to send him off on the right note.

"But, as we remember the highs and lows of New Zealand and the World Cup, the focus must now be to build for the next four years, the immediate future of the Six Nations next year and towards the 2015 World Cup.

"Players like Scott Andrews, Ian Evans and Lloyd Williams [have] an immediate opportunity to impress and also the likes of Justin Tipuric, Dan Biggar and Alex Cuthbert with a chance from the bench."

Australia warmed up for the Wales clash with a 60-11 win over the Barbarians at Twickenham last week, with head coach Robbie Deans scheduled to name his starting side on Thursday.


Wales: Leigh Halfpenny Cardiff Blues); George North (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Lloyd Williams (Blues); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Blues), Bradley Davies (Blues), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons, Sam Warburton (Blues, capt), Toby Faletau (Dragons).

Replacements: Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Alex Cuthbert (Blues).