Justin Tipuric will captain Wales in Wayne Pivac’s first game at the helm as the Rugby World Cup semi-finalists take on the Barbarians, led by their former coach Warren Gatland.
After 12 years in charge of Wales, New Zealander Gatland brought an end to his tenure following their campaign in Japan, which concluded with a 19-16 defeat to eventual champions South Africa in the last four.
Former Scarlets coach Pivac has replaced his compatriot and his first game in charge comes on Saturday against a Barbarians side coached by Gatland.
Tipuric – one of eight players in the team to have featured at the World Cup – has been named skipper and will start in the back row, while Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl, who has qualified to represent Wales on the three-year residency rule, has been handed a debut.
We take you inside the Wales camp for an extended look behind the scenes as Wayne Pivac’s squad meet up for the first time and begin their preparations…
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 27, 2019
It will be Wales’ first meeting with the Barbarians since 2012, and Pivac is relishing the contest at the Principality Stadium.
“This week has been hugely exciting and hugely important for us as a group,” said Pivac. “It has been an opportunity for us as a new squad and management to get together and to set the scene for what the future holds.
“This weekend itself is really exciting. The Barbarians are what rugby is all about. It is the fun element of the game and supporters should be looking forward to some good old-fashioned running rugby and it should be an entertaining afternoon.”
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Gatland, meanwhile, has named former Ireland captain Rory Best as the Barbarians’ skipper. It will be the 37-year-old’s final international match.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl, Owen Watkin, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Seb Davies, Ollie Griffiths, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Owen Lane.