Francis starts for Wales
By Flo Eggins
Exeter Chiefs' prop Tomas Francis will start for Wales in their Quilter International fixture against England at Twickenham on Sunday (2.00pm).
An experienced side has been named for Wales' first summer test, in which Alun Wyn Jones will become his country's most capped player of all time.
Francis will be joined by Nicky Smith and Ken Owens in the front-row, with Adam Beard partnering Jones in the second row. Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty comprise the back row.
An unchanged back-line from the side that clinched the Grand Slam against Ireland in March has been named, with Gareth Davies and Gareth Anscombe continuing their partnership and half-back and Scarlets duo Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies paired in midfield. Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams make up the back three.
“The squad are looking forward to this weekend and getting a game under their belt after a really intense preparation period,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
“We have picked a strong-looking team and we are looking forward to seeing how they kick on after a successful couple of campaigns.
“These matches are really important leading into the RWC, to ensure that the players are both ready for the tournament but also to give players the opportunity to put their hands up for selection.
“There is a balance with selection, a need to mix continuity from what we have achieved with opportunity, and we will look to do that over the next couple of weeks.
“Looking at the first two matches, this block replicates what we are doing in the RWC with a six-day turnaround so it’s a good opportunity for us to prepare and mimic that schedule.”
Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Dillon Lewis provide the front-row cover with Jake Ball and Aaron Shingler completing the forward contingent. Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar and Owen Watkin are named as the backline cover.
WALES TEAM TO FACE ENGLAND, SUNDAY AUGUST 11 (KO 14.00 SKY SPORTS):
15. Liam Williams (Saracens) (55 Caps)
14. George North (Ospreys) (83 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (73 Caps)
12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (15 Caps)
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (10 Caps)
10. Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys) (26 Caps)
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (41 Caps)
1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (28 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (64 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (40 Caps)
4. Adam Beard (Ospreys) (13 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (C) (Ospreys) (125 Caps)
6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (8 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (64 Caps)
8. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (31 Caps)
16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (18 Caps)
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (12 Caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (12 Caps)
19. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (32 Caps)
20. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (17 Caps)
21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (7 Caps)
22. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (70 Caps)
23. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (13 Caps)