Wales v Tonga: Andrew Coombs misses training with 'bad back'

Andrew Coombs in action against Ireland

Wales v Tonga

Millennium Stadium
Friday, 22 November
19:30 GMT
Live on BBC Two Wales, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru & online; score updates online; highlights on Scrum V on BBC Two Wales on Sunday from 18:15 GMT

Dragons captain Andrew Coombs missed Wales training on Thursday morning because of a back injury.

Coombs, capped at second-row in the Six Nations, has been selected at blind-side in the team to face Tonga in Cardiff on Friday evening.

Backs coach Rob Howley reported the Dragons forward had a "bit of a bad back."

"The decision was made to give him a morning off, but hopefully he'll be available tomorrow night," said Howley.

"He has a stiff back."

Six Nations champions Wales lost their first game of their autumn international campaign to South Africa by 24-15.

Coach Warren Gatland has made 11 changes to the side which beat Argentina 40-6 for the clash with Tonga.

Wales have played Tonga six times and won all six games between the countries.

The Tongans have lost their two games - against Romania and France - so far on their autumn tour.

Howley says Wales will not underestimate the challenge posed by the visitors on Friday night.

"They are very passionate and proud rugby side," said Howley.

"They will run hard, have great footwork and have the ability to beat players one-on-one.

"They will earn the right to play and we have to make sure our foundations are right.

"Scrum and lineout are going to be key elements of the game and the pack we have picked is pretty physical.

"We have to make sure we dominate them and take their legs away from them.

"You only have to watch the French game to see how they made it difficult for a very good French side.

"We have to be focussed and on our game."


Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); George North (Northampton Saints), Owen Williams (Cardiff Blues), Ashley Beck (Ospreys), Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons); James Hook (Perpignan), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues); Paul James (Bath), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys - capt).

Replacements: Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Jordan Williams (Scarlets).

Tonga: Vungakoto Lilo, Fetu'u Vainikolo, Siale Piutau, Sione Piukala, Will Helu, Latiume Fosita,Taniela Moa; Eddie Aholelei, Elvis Taione, Sila Puafisi, Tukulua Lokotui, Joe Tu'ineau, Sione Kalamafoni, Nili Latu (C), Viliami Ma'afu

Replacements: Suliasi Taufalele, Tevita Mailau, Taione Vea, Hale T Pole, Opeti Fonua, Samisoni Fisilau, Fangatapu 'Apikotoa, Tevita Halaifonua

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