Portugal Colonial - Adams gets change of scene for Wales at centre for Ireland clash

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Adams gets change of scene for Wales at centre for Ireland clash
Adams gets change of scene for Wales at centre for Ireland clash

Adams gets change of scene for Wales at centre for Ireland clash

Josh Adams will play in the centre for Wales for the first time when the Six Nations champions open their campaign against Ireland on Saturday in Dublin.

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Adams, who has won 35 caps and was top try-scorer at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, would have featured there in last November's Test with Fiji, but he suffered an injury during the warm-up and was unable to start.

The 26-year-old will partner Nick Tompkins in midfield in a side that has lost several key players to injury.

"We've selected Josh Adams at 13," said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac on Thursday.

"It's something we've been thinking about for a while. He's done it in training and in small doses at the end of a game. We think this is a golden opportunity to answer that question."

There are also starts for winger Johnny McNicholl and flanker Taine Basham -- winning their ninth and eighth caps respectively -- with uncapped Ospreys hooker Dewi Lake among the replacements.

Iconic captain Alun Wyn Jones is one of those missing and experienced fly-half Dan Biggar will skipper them instead.

Last season's Test revelation Louis Rees-Zammit starts on the wing whilst the experienced Liam Williams is at full-back.

Flanker Ross Moriarty, who has recovered from a shoulder injury suffered against New Zealand in October, is on the bench and is poised to win his 50th cap.

"Really pleased for Ross," said Pivac.

"He's wrapped to be back in the match day 23 and I think it's just really around game time at the moment.

"We think coming off the bench he'll make an impact, so that's why we've gone that way."

However, there is no place in the matchday 23 for centre Jonathan Davies, who has made 99 Test match appearances for Wales as well as the British and Irish Lions.

Pivac's side will go to Dublin as underdogs despite being the title holders due to a mix of the injuries and the regions poor form in the European club competitions.

"History in Dublin, it's a hard place to go," said Pivac.

"There have been some great games in recent years against Ireland.

"They're a very, very tough, very physical side.

"So we know we're going to have to step up in that area of the game and make sure we do that for 80 mins.

"We've got to be very disciplined and as a result be in there fighting for the right result."

Team (15-1)

Liam Williams; Johnny McNicholl, Josh Adams, Nick Tompkins, Louis Rees-Zammit; Dan Biggar (capt), Tomos Williams; Aaron Wainwright; Taine Basham, Ellis Jenkins; Adam Beard, Will Rowlands; Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones

Replacements: Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Ross Moriarty, Gareth Davies, Callum Sheedy, Owen Watkin

Coach: Wayne Pivac (NZL)