Alun Wyn Jones Breaks World Record
A Welsh team with a world record-breaking captain will face the Scots this Saturday amid six changes to the side which lost to France last week. The warhorse that is Alun Wyn Jones runs out against Scotland eclipsing All Black legend Richie McCaw record with a staggering 149 caps in the what must be a very large Jones house trophy cabinet. Having played junior rugby for Bonymaen and graduating to regional rugby with the Ospreys, the second-rower earned his first cap against Argentina way back in 2006 and has earned the admiration of the rugby world with his tireless work rate and leadership qualities.
The evergreen 35yr old has represented his country on 140 occasions adding 9 caps playing for the British Lions & Irish and he shows no signs of slowing down chasing a fourth successive Lions tour next year. He has accumulated three Grand Slams and was named Six Nations Player of the Tournament in 2019. He will lead out a team at Parc-y-Scarlets showing six changes from the side that lost to France 38-21 last week.
Forced and Unforced Changes
Eyebrows were raised as both George North and Aaron Wainwright drop out of the match day squad being replaced in the starting line-up by Liam Williams and new cap Shane Lewis-Jones. Born in Pontypridd and brought up in Ferndale, Lewis-Jones was originally not chosen in the original Autumn Squad but has impressed in training, catching the eye in particular of skipper Alun Wyn. Scrum-half Rhys Webb and prop Samson Lee drop out through injury giving opportunities to Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis with 2nd row Will Rowlands and centre Owen Watkin getting the nod ahead of Cory Hill and Nick Tompkins respectively.
Looking for a good Performance
Wales will be chasing fourth place in the Six Nations Championship after a disappointing showing earlier in the year and last week’s loss to the French means that Welsh Coach Wayne Pivac will be hoping that a home win will set up the team nicely for the coming Autumn Nations Cup. To be fair, France looked good in the home win, choking Wales of space. The French rush-defence had Sean Edward’s fingerprints all over it making it very difficult for Wales to secure their own ball at the breakdown and they look to have found a world-class centre partnership in Virimi Vakatawa and Gael Rattez.
We lose another rugby Legend
The game will be played against the backdrop of the sad death of Llanelli and Wales & British Lions winger JJ Williams. A Commonwealth games sprinter – who will ever forget his tries-out-of-nothing when playing against South Africa for the Lions in 1974. He broke my own heart as a 14 yr year when he scored an interception try against my own village club Taff’s Well in 1974 in the old WRU Challenge Cup – Llanelli eventually winning 10-6 and going on to win the cup after beating the All Blacks earlier in the season.
Wales will be on their guard against a Scottish team that has world-class full-back Stuart Hogg and the mercurial Finn Russell at outside-half in their ranks. There have been some great matches between these two sides over the ages so let’s hope that Saturday’s encounter lights up some rather strange times.
Leigh Halfpenny; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Owen Watkin, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Shane Lewis-Hughes, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Sam Parry, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Cory Hill, James Davies, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Patchell, Nick Tompkins.
Scotland: Hogg (c), Graham, Kinghorn, Harris, Lang, Russell, Price; Sutherland, Brown, Z. Fagerson, Cummings, Gray, Ritchie, Watson, Thomson
Replacements: McInally, Kebble, Berghan, Toolis, Du Preez, Steele, Hastings, Van der Merwe