Gatland rings in changes for Canada - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gatland rings in changes for Canada

11/11/2008 07:02:40 AM Comments (0)

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made 12 changes to his starting side for Friday's rugby union international against Canada at the Millennium Stadium.

Only captain Ryan Jones, wing Leigh Halfpenny and centre Tom Shanklin retain their places in the team that took the field for Saturday's 20-15 loss at home to world champions South Africa.

Prop forward John Yapp has been called in from outside Gatland's 32-man squad following a foot injury sustained by Duncan Jones.

Yapp's Cardiff teammate Tom James, a wing, could be selected if full-back Morgan Stoddart fails a fitness test on an ankle injury on Tuesday.

If Stoddart is unfit, Halfpenny will move to full-back with James on the wing. The other wing position will be filled by Mark Jones, fit following a knee injury.

Elsewhere in the backs, centre Gavin Henson was not considered due to the Achilles problem which forced his late withdrawal from the South Africa match.

Llanelli scrum-half Martin Roberts is set to make his full Test debut, with Dwayne Peel on the bench, while James Hook is at outside-half in place of Stephen Jones.

Up front, Ryan Jones returns to his more familiar No.8 berth in place of Andy Powell, Wales's man-of-the-match on debut against the Springboks, with the flanker spots taken by Dafydd Jones and Robin Sowden-Taylor.

Meanwhile Newport lock Luke Charteris is in the second-row.

Wales's bench features two uncapped players in Sale prop Eifion Roberts and Ospreys outside-half Dan Biggar.

Gatland's men have a packed November programme - New Zealand and Australia will also play at the Millennium before the month is out.

So a game against a Canada side thrashed 55-0 by Ireland in Limerick in last weekend meant wholesale changes to the Six Nations champions' line-up were widely anticipated.

"We have a short turnaround before we face Canada, and this was always going to be a game in which we tried to utilise our squad," Gatland said.

"We have a chance to put defeat against South Africa behind us and really try to build some momentum before New Zealand and Australia come to town, so we know what we need to achieve against Canada," the New Zealander added.

"There are lots of changes from the weekend, but we have maintained consistency by keeping Ryan in there as captain, and we have some experience and impact players, too, on the bench."

Wales team to play Canada at the Millennium Stadium Friday:


Morgan Stoddart; Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin, Andrew Bishop, Mark Jones; James Hook, Martin Roberts; Ryan Jones (capt), Robin Sowden-Taylor, Dafyyd Jones; Luke Charteris, Ian Gough; Rhys Thomas, Richard Hibbard, John Yapp

Replacements: Matthew Rees, Eifion Roberts, Alun-Wyn Jones, Andy Powell, Dwayne Peel, Dan Biggar, Jamie Roberts

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