By Paul Jones
The 35-year-old lock will win his 148th cap at the Stade de France in a match which is a warm-up for both countries ahead of the belated completion of the Six Nations.
Jones was set to play in a record-equalling 148th game – drawing level with former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw – against Scotland in the Six Nations in March but the match was postponed at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ospreys player’s tally includes nine for the British & Irish Lions.
Jones will pack down alongside Cory Hill who makes his first start for his country since February 2019.
Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias and Samson Lee comprise the front-row with Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau featuring in the back-row.
Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar are named at half-back with Nick Tompkins partnering the returning Jonathan Davies in midfield. Josh Adams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny make up the back-three.
⫶ Wayne Pivac names first Wales team in seven months: https://t.co/4ncYr46jwR
⫶ Alun Wyn Jones to equal world record for international appearances this Saturday in Paris.
⫶ Dau gap newydd ar y fainc: Sam Parry, Louis Rees-Zammit
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) October 22, 2020
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “The players are excited, it has been a long time, we can’t wait for Saturday.
“We have six matches this autumn and the game against France helps us get back into our stride international rugby-wise. We have picked an experienced side and are up against a good French team so we want to start this autumn well and get on the front foot for the Guinness Six Nations fixture against Scotland.
“We have talked already about how fortunate we are to be going about our work on a daily basis. A lot of people can’t do that and certainly within our organisation there are a lot of people not back at work.
“From our point of view this Saturday is an opportunity to prepare for this tournament and for Scotland, but two, to put some smiles on faces and put on a good performance and make the nation proud.”
On Alun Wyn Jones equalling the world record for test caps, Pivac said: “It is a fabulous achievement. He epitomises what a great rugby player is all about.
It’s an incredible achievement and whatever accolades come his way he definitely deserves that.”
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) October 20, 2020
“He is a true professional on and off the field and a gentleman of the game. On the field he leads by example and you can’t ask more of your captain and we are very privileged here in Wales to have him.”
Uncapped duo Sam Parry and Louis Rees-Zammit are both named on the bench.
Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies and James Davies complete the forward replacements with Gareth Davies and Rhys Patchell joining Rees-Zammit as the back-line cover.
WALES TEAM TO PLAY FRANCE:
- Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues, 8 Caps), 2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets, 13 Caps), 3. Samson Lee (Scarlets, 41 Caps), 4. Cory Hill (Cardiff Blues, 25 Caps), 5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, 138 Caps) (CAPT), 6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons, 21 Caps), 7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, 76 Caps), 8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath, 76 Caps), 9. Rhys Webb (Ospreys, 33 Caps), 10. Dan Biggar (Northampton, 83 Caps), 11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues, 24 Caps), 12. Nick Tompkins (Dragons, 4 Caps), 13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets, 81 Caps), 14. George North (Ospreys, 95 Caps), 15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets, 89 Caps)
Replacements: Sam Parry (Ospreys, Uncapped), Nicky Smith (Ospreys, 35 Caps), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues, 26 Caps), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues, 7 Caps), James Davies (Scarlets, 8 Caps), Gareth Davies (Scarlets, 53 Caps), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets, 19 Caps), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester, Uncapped).