Wales bench Martyn Williams
Cardiff - Martyn Williams, Wales's most-capped forward of all-time, has been left among the replacements for the team's November series opener against Australia at the Millennium Stadium here on Saturday.
Instead Wales coach Warren Gatland has opted to bring in Williams's Cardiff team-mate Sam Warburton at openside flanker to face an Australia side fresh from a dramatic 26-24 Bledisloe Cup win over New Zealand in Hong Kong.
Gatland, explaining his decision to start with Warburton as Wales set out on the road to next year's World Cup in New Zealand, said Thursday: "There was debate in the back row, and we decided we wanted to have another look at Sam, who hasn't played for us since South Africa in the summer."
Up front, Llanelli hooker Mattew Rees will captain Wales for the first time instead of back-row Ryan Jones, out with a torn calf muscle.
As was widely predicted, Kiwi boss Gatland has moved James Hook to full-back in place of the injured Lee Byrne.
Tom Shanklin partners Andrew Bishop in midfield while Will Harries replaces Leigh Halfpenny (ankle) on the wing.
"We had options on the wing as well, and we thought about Chris Czekaj at full-back, but in the end we have gone for experience there with James Hook," Gatland explained.
Wales have won just one out of nine matches against Tri-Nations opposition - against Australia two years ago - since Gatland took charge and last year were subjected to a humbling 33-12 defeat by the Wallabies in Cardiff.
James Hook; Will Harries, Tom Shanklin, Andrew Bishop, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips; Jonathan Thomas, Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate; Alun-Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies; Adam Jones, Matthew Rees (capt), Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: Huw Bennett, Paul James, Deiniol Jones, Martyn Williams, Richie Rees, Dan Biggar, Chris Czekaj