Six Nations

Biggar, Williams, Halfpenny back for Wales

2018-02-20 15:18
Warren Gatland (Getty)

Cardiff - Wales head coach Warren Gatland on Tuesday named British and Irish Lions trio Dan Biggar, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny in his starting line-up for the weekend's Six Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin.

Victory for Wales in Dublin would end Ireland's Grand Slam hopes and keep alive their own title chances, while an Irish win would increase the likelihood of a championship showdown against England at Twickenham on March 17.

Flyhalf Biggar, who missed the opening Six Nations games against Scotland and England with a shoulder injury, replaces Rhys Patchell in the number 10 shirt.

Elsewhere, fullback Halfpenny has recovered from a foot infection that ruled him out of Wales's 12-6 defeat to England and replaces Gareth Anscombe, while fit-again Saracens wing Williams takes over from Josh Adams.

Both Patchell and Adams drop out of the matchday 23, while Northampton wing George North is retained on the bench with Gatland opting for a back-three of Halfpenny, Williams and Steff Evans.

Biggar features for the first time since he was hurt during the Ospreys' European Champions Cup defeat against Clermont Auvergne last month, while Williams suffered an abdominal injury during the autumn campaign and has not played for Wales since they beat Georgia in November.

The pack is unchanged and includes No 8 Ross Moriarty, who missed Gloucester's Premiership game against Worcester last weekend after suffering a shoulder knock.

"It is great to be able to bring so much experience back into the starting XV and into the backline," said Gatland, who takes charge of Wales for the 100th time.

"It is the first week we have had everyone in the 'green' in terms of availability, which is a nice luxury to have and a positive ahead of what is a very important Test match against a very good Ireland side.

"We have been pleased with the depth we have developed in the back three and pleased with how those players have gone but having the experience of Dan, Liam and Leigh coming back in is hugely important."

Ireland currently top the Six Nations table on points difference from England after winning their opening two games against France and Italy. 

Wales, who thumped Scotland 34-7 in their opening match, are third.

Teams:

Ireland

TBA

Wales

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans

Substitutes: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 George North

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