Johnny Williams to make World Cup debut against Portugal


Johnny Williams will make his World Cup debut for a much-changed Wales in their second fixture of the tournament against pool minnows Portugal in Nice on Saturday (4.45pm BST / 5.45pm local time live on ITV and S4C).

The strong-running centre will win his seventh cap at the Stade de Nice and is joined in the match-day 23 by Scarlets team-mates Ryan Elias, Gareth Davies and Sam Costelow, who are named among the replacements.

Wales arrived in Nice from Bordeaux on Monday afternoon and have been preparing for this fixture from their city training base. 

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “We’ve made a few changes this week given the six-day turnaround. 

“This is an opportunity now for this match day 23. I’ve said before, but there’s some great competition within the squad which is what we want to see. There’s a chance now for this group to go out Saturday and to put down their own marker in the tournament. 

“We’ve done a thorough debrief of last week’s game and know the areas we need to improve. We have a clear plan of how we want to play on Saturday and it’s about going out there and executing that as we have prepared. 

“Portugal are a skillful side and will be raring to go this weekend in their first match of the tournament. We’re excited to get back out there and looking forward to seeing more great support from the travelling fans out in Nice.”

Tîm Cymru i wynebu Portiwgal i yn y Stade de Nice yng Nghrŵp C o Gwpan Rygbi’r Byd 2023. Ddydd Sadwrn 16 Medi 4.45pm BST. Yn fyw ar S4C ac ITV.

15. Leigh Halfpenny (unattached / heb glwb – 100 caps)
14. Louis Rees Zammit (Gloucester Rugby / Caerloyw – 28 caps)
13. Mason Grady Cardiff Rugby/ Caerdydd – 4 caps)*
12. Johnny Williams (Scarlets – 6 caps)*
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons / Dreigiau – 10 caps)
10. Gareth Anscombe (Suntory Sungoliath – 35 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby/ Caerdydd – 49 caps)
1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys / Gweilch – 44 caps)
2. Dewi Lake (Ospreys / Gweilch – 9 caps)*
3. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 52 caps)
4. Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 7 caps)*
5. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 8 caps)
6. Dan Lydiate (Dragons / Dreigiau – 71 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers / Caerlŷr – 11 caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 101 caps)

Replacements / Eilyddion
16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 35 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 3 caps)
18. Tomas Francis (Provence Rugby – 73 caps)
19. Adam Beard (Ospreys / Gweilch – 48 caps)
20. Taine Basham (Dragons / Dreigiau – 13 caps)*
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 70 caps)
22. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 5 caps)
23. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 51 caps)

*player making RWC debut