Returning Scarlets star Liam Williams has been passed fit to take his place in the Wales side for Saturday’s Six Nations showdown with England at Twickenham.
Williams has yet to play this season after picking up an ankle injury at the Rugby World Cup, but after completing his rehab at the Wales base at the Vale Resort, the 28-year-old has been thrust straight back into Wayne Pivac’s starting XV.
The news is a huge boost for Wales, as well as Scarlets fans, who will be looking forward to seeing Williams back at Parc y Scarlets once the Championship is over.
Scarlets announced last week that the British & Irish Lion would be available for the remainder of the campaign following his release from Saracens.
There are nine Scarlets named in the match-day 23 – Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Hadleigh Parkes, Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Jake Ball in the starting line-up and Ryan Elias, Aaron Shingler and Johnny McNicholl on the bench.
Williams replaces the injured Josh Adams in a side showing four changes from the defeat to France last time out.
He slots in alongside fellow Halfpenny and George North in a vastly- experienced back three that boasts more than 250 Test caps.
Parkes and Nick Tompkins continue in midfield, while Tomos Williams is preferred to Gareth Davies and partners Dan Biggar at half-back.
Scarlets prop Evans comes into the front-row, making his first start for Wales since the 2019 edition of the tournament and he will pack down alongside Owens and Dillon Lewis in the front-row.
Ball and captain Alun Wyn Jones partner again in the second-row, with Jones setting another Welsh record by becoming his country’s most capped player in the Six Nations with 57. In the back-row Josh Navidi comes in to link up with Ross Moriarty and Justin Tipuric.
On the bench, Shingler – hugely impressive for the Scarlets against Munster last weekend – is included for the first time in the Championship.
“We’ve had a good two weeks and we are really excited about heading up to Twickenham for what will be a huge Six Nations clash,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“We have had the chance to put the disappointments of the loss to France behind us and we know heading to London we need to be more clinical in attack and convert the opportunities that we are creating.
“Liam’s return to full fitness is a positive after the loss of Josh (Adams), as is the return of Josh Navidi. We have been targeting this game for both of their returns and they have trained really well so it’s a great opportunity for them on Saturday.”
Elias, Rhys Carre and Leon Brown provide the front-row replacement cover with Shingler and Taulupe Faletau completing the forward contingent. Rhys Webb, Jarrod Evans and McNicholl provide the backline cover.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets); George North (Ospreys), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets); Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues); Rob Evans (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, capt), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues).
Reps: Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Rhys Carre (Saracens), Leon Brown (Dragons), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Rhys Webb (Bath), Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets).SHARE