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Ospreys’ Keelan Giles set for Wales debut

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

17 Nov 2016

Keelan Giles is set to make his Wales debut against Japan after being named by Rob Howley on the bench to face Japan at Principality Stadium on Saturday.

The Ospreys winger, still only 18, shot to prominence after a stunning start to life with the Guinness PRO12 side, scoring eight tries in his first four appearances, and has now been rewarded with a spot in the matchday 23 to face The Brave Blossoms.

After a stellar shift against Argentina, Scarlets’ Liam Williams has earned a start at full-back as Toulon’s Leigh Halfpenny shifts to the wing in a move that seems designed to utilise Williams’ scintillating recent attacking form.

And Howley admitted that shifting Williams to full-back could give Wales an added dimension going forward into the South Africa Test.

“We are giving an opportunity to Liam, it’s his favorable position, the team comes first, but this combination has worked for us and we have seen it in training,” he said.

“Two full-backs and one wing gives a platform from a kicking perspective and also Leigh Halfpenny has played on the wing before and I feel it might give us something which we’ll need in the forthcoming games. “

Cardiff Blues’ Gareth Anscombe starts his first game for Wales at fly-half alongside clubmate Lloyd Williams, while Dragons’ Cory Hill comes in to start his first game at lock after one cap from the bench.

Anscombe’s fellow Blues Kristian Dacey, Rhys Gill and Scott Andrews provide cover from the bench, while Sam Warburton captains the side from openside.

And Howley believes the Blues partnership can be fruitful for Wales.

“It is a partnership which plays together at regional rugby, it is important for continuity and momentum.   They know each other’s games inside out.

“Gareth has been quite patient, we wanted to involve him last weekend, but we felt we were comfortable in the game and didn’t give him any gametime.

“He gets his chance this week, he has been patient and I am sure he will be ready to go and we will look for a solid performance.

“Keeping Alun Wyn, Sam Warburton and Jonathan Davies, it is important but it also gives the opportunity to those who may have been disappointing in their performance against Australia.”

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets) (36 Caps)
14. Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) (64 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (57 Caps)
12. Jamie Roberts (Harlequins) (84 Caps)
11. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues) (43 Caps)
10. Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (8 Caps)
9. Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues) (27 Caps)
1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (5 Caps)
2. Scott Baldwin (Ospreys) (26 Caps)
3. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (27 Caps)
4. Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons) (1 Cap)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (103 Caps)
6. Dan Lydiate (Ospreys) (58 Caps)
7. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues) (68 Caps) (CAPT)
8. James King (Ospreys) (9 Caps)

16. Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps)
17. Rhys Gill (Cardiff Blues) (6 Caps)
18. Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues) (12 Caps)
19. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (20 Caps)
20. Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby (11 Caps)
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (19 Caps)
22. Sam Davies (Ospreys) (1 Cap)
23. Keelan Giles (Ospreys) (Uncapped)

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