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Wales New Boys Warned To Brace Themselves For Irish Backlash

Wales new boys Rhys Carre and Owen Lane have been promised a baptism of fire when they make their international debuts against Ireland on Saturday.

Carre and Lane, who played in the same Wales age-grade sides together, will feature for Wales for the first time in a side captained by Josh Navidi.

They are part of a side showing 14 changes from the team that beat England in their previous World Cup warm-up game.

Only flanker James Davies remains, whilst Jarrod Evans makes his first start for Wales and links up with Aled Davies at half-back.

But former Wales captain and three-time Grand Slammer Jones says the new faces should expect a ferocious backlash from Ireland following their record defeat at Twickenham.

Joe Schmidt’s men were beaten 25-7 on their last visit to Cardiff in March when Wales secured the third Six Nations Grand Slam of Warren Gatland’s reign.

And Last weekend they were sunk under an avalanche of eight tries in a record 57-15 loss to England.

Now they face back-to-back games against No.1 ranked team Wales before heading to Japan for the World Cup.

“Ireland will want to go into the World Cup with a couple of wins under their belt to give them some confidence,” said Jones.

“The clever play here is we are combating it with a group of guys who are playing for their World Cup opportunities. It is very much like we saw England do in the first warm-up match against us.

“We are going to be competitive because we have a game plan and the players will know what is expected of them. It is at home, the fans will be out in their droves and we have all the ingredients for a very fierce Test match.

“Wales tried some different things at Twickenham and then came back the next week and played differently. We showed all the traits that make us hugely competitive.”

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Wales moved to No.1 in the World Rugby rankings at the second time of asking with their 13-6 home win over England the week after a 33-19 loss at Twickenham. They will need to win to stay there this weekend when they will be defending an 11-match unbeaten home run.

But while Jones concedes winning breeds confidence, he doesn’t believe you should read too much into results at this stage of the build-up to Japan.

“We’re still in a period of preparation. You don’t gear anything to peak in early August – it is all geared to peaking in September,” added Jones.

“The guys are pretty tired and pretty run down and beat up because they have had it tough. It is about giving them the game time they need and peaking in a month’s time.

“It has been a smart way of approaching the warm-up games because all the guys will have some rugby under their belts.”

Jones also believes the Welsh crowd could play a huge part in making it an emotional farewell for Gatland in what will be his 67th and final game in charge of Wales at the Principality Stadium before he stands down at the end of the World Cup.

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“Sometimes Warren portrays himself as a plain character who is difficult to read, but he loves Wales, Welsh rugby and the people of Wales. It will be emotional for him this weekend,” said Jones.

“It is a great opportunity for the Welsh fans to come out and show him what he means to us. He is going to be missed because he has been a fantastic servant to Welsh rugby.”

The rest of the Wales mix sees Carre pack down in the front row alongside Scarlets pair Ryan Elias and Samson Lee.  Ospreys duo Adam Beard and Bradley Davies form the second row partnership.

Aaron Shingler and James Davies are named in the back-row alongside captain Navidi.

Owen Watkin and Scott Williams line up in the centre with Lane, Steff Evans and Hallam Amos making up the back-three.


  1. Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues) (19 Caps)
  2. Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues) (*Uncapped)
  3. Scott Williams (Ospreys) (57 Caps)
  4. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (15 Caps)
  5. Steff Evans (Scarlets) (12 Caps)
  6. Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (2 Caps)
  7. Aled Davies (Ospreys) (18 Caps)
  8. Rhys Carre (Saracens) (*Uncapped)
  9. Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (7 Caps)
  10. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (40 Caps)
  11. Adam Beard (Ospreys) (14 Caps)
  12. Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (64 Caps)
  13. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (19 Caps)
  14. James Davies (Scarlets) (4 Caps)
  15. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (CAPT) (17 Caps)



  1. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (20 Caps)
  2. Rob Evans (Scarlets) (35 Caps)
  3. Leon Brown (Dragons) (5 Caps)
  4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (34 Caps)
  5. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (33 Caps)
  6. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (7 Caps)
  7. Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (11 Cap)
  8. Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers) (2 Caps)


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