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Rhys Priestland to start for Wales against Australia despite Dan Biggar return

By SWEP_DafP  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

Rhys Priestland

Rhys Priestland

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WALES have made four changes for Saturday's final autumn Test against Australia — but Rhys Priestland has kept his place ahead of the returning Dan Biggar.

Ospreys fly-half Biggar is on the bench after recovering from a shoulder injury, but Warren Gatland has opted to keep faith with under-fire Scarlet Priestland.

Up front, Ryan Jones drops to the bench to make room for Scarlets back-rower Aaron Shingler at blindside flanker, while Ospreys lock Ian Evans returns from injury to replace Bradley Davies, who is out with concussion.

The other two changes are in the front row, with Gethin Jenkins replacing Paul James at loose-head and Scott Andrews coming in at tight-head for Aaron Jarvis, who has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

Uncapped Scarlets prop Samson Lee, who turns 20 tomorrow, could make his debut after being named on the bench.

With George North still unavailable because of a hip problem, his Scarlets colleague Liam Williams retains his place on the left wing after impressing in last weekend's 33-10 defeat to New Zealand.

That was Wales's sixth successive loss and their third from three Tests this autumn. They must beat Australia on Saturday to be sure of their place in the top eight of the IRB world rankings.

"We need to pick up again where we left off in the second half last week," said Gatland.

"We managed to retain 73% possession after the break against the All Blacks and win the territory battle, and we need to put Australia under similar pressure from the outset. 

"Both sides have had injuries to cope with, but there is every reason for optimism.  The Millennium Stadium crowd will be in full voice again, they were outstanding last week, and we are aiming to reach the end of a tough series on Saturday and finish off on a high."

Wales:Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Scott Andrews, Ian Evans, Luke Charteris, Aaron Shingler, Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton (capt).

Replacements:Ken Owens, Ryan Bevington, Samson Lee, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Tavis Knoyle, Dan Biggar, Scott Williams.

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