Wales coach Warren Gatland made six changes, including moving powerhouse wing George North to centre in one of two positional switches, when he named his side to play Australia in this weekend’s World Cup Pool A decider at Twickenham. 

New Zealand-born Gareth Anscombe is set for his first Test start at full-back in a back three that sees Liam Williams recalled after the wing missed Wales’ 23-13 win over Fiji because of concussion.

Elsewhere in the backs, North is set to provide Wales with an especially powerful midfield alongside regular centre Jamie Roberts.

Up front, Luke Charteris comes into Wales’ second row and Paul James starts at prop in place of Gethin Jenkins.

Meanwhile skipper Sam Warburton moves across the back-row to blindside flanker, allowing Justin Tipuric to start at openside.

The winners of Saturday’s match will top the group and so avoid two-time world champions South Africa in the quarter-finals, with Scotland and Japan competing for the runners-up spot. 

Wales and Australia have already qualified for the quarter-finals. They each beat knocked-out tournament hosts England in pool play and both sides have won all three of their matches at this World Cup so far.

“Saturday is another huge encounter and both sides will be coming in with momentum and looking to top Pool A,” said Gatland after announcing his team on Thursday.

“We have been impressed with Australia so far in this competition and we know a step up is required at Twickenham this weekend. It is still all to play for in terms of the knockout phases. 

“We’ve trained well this week, had a full squad to pick from and it is great to welcome back players from injury.”

Australia, who have won their last 10 Tests against Wales, were due to name their side later on Thursday after delaying the announcement.


Wales (15-1)

Gareth Anscombe; Alex Cuthbert, George North, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (capt); Alun Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris; Samson Lee, Scott Baldwin, Paul James

Replacements: Ken Owens, Aaron Jarvis, Tomas Francis, Jake Ball, Ross Moriarty, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, James Hook

Coach: Warren Gatland (NZL)

Agence France-Presse

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