Navidi made his Test debut all the way back in 2013 but has only really established himself as a stand-out international flanker in the last two years under Gatland.
After a key role in their Grand Slam win earlier this year, the Guinness PRO14 star gets the nod to skipper Wales this weekend, an honour that is well-earned according to Gatland.
“For Josh, it’s a huge honour to be named captain, he has been hugely consistent for us, he has really impressed in the last couple of seasons and he will lead from the front of Saturday and it is a great compliment for him to be awarded the captaincy.
“Saturday is a really big game for the players and I’m really excited about the challenge for this Welsh team. There is so much at stake in terms of RWC selection and with a number of positions still up for grabs it will be a huge game.”
Navidi’s Cardiff Blues teammate Owen Lane – familiar to many on the Guinness PRO14 circuit for his try-scoring exploits – will make his international bow on the wing this weekend.
“It’s a fantastic chance for them to put their hand up for selection.”
Warren Gatland discusses today’s team announcement for Saturday’s meeting with Ireland. pic.twitter.com/CT2KRHR4T3
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) August 29, 2019
Lane is joined in the back three by new Blues teammate Hallam Amos and Scarlets flyer Steff Evans, with Ospreys duo Scott Williams and Owen Watkin in midfield.
The half-back pairing sees Jarrod Evans make his first start for his country outside Aled Davies.
Up front Navidi is joined in the back row by James Davies – the sole starter last time out against England retained this weekend – and Aaron Shingler.
Bradley Davies and Adam Beard are in the second row while another debutant in Rhys Carre gets the nod in the front row with Ryan Elias and Samson Lee.
“It is a great opportunity for Rhys and Owen, they have worked hard all summer to get to this point so it will be good for them to get their first international caps and put their hands up for RWC selection after the match,” added Gatland.
Elliot Dee, Rob Evans and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover with Jake Ball and Ross Moriarty completing the forward contingent. Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell and Jonah Holmes are named as the backline cover.
Wales team to face Ireland at Principality Stadium, Saturday August 31. 2:30PM KO
15. Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues) (19 Caps)
14. Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues) (*Uncapped)
13. Scott Williams (Ospreys) (57 Caps)
12. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (15 Caps)
11. Steff Evans (Scarlets) (12 Caps)
10. Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (2 Caps)
9. Aled Davies (Ospreys) (18 Caps)
1. Rhys Carre (Saracens) (*Uncapped)
2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (7 Caps)
3. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (40 Caps)
4. Adam Beard (Ospreys) (14 Caps)
5. Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (64 Caps)
6. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (19 Caps)
7. James Davies (Scarlets) (4 Caps)
8. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (CAPT) (17 Caps)
16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (20 Caps)
17. Rob Evans (Scarlets) (35 Caps)
18. Leon Brown (Dragons) (5 Caps)
19. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (34 Caps)
20. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (33 Caps)
21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (7 Caps)
22. Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (11 Cap)
23. Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers) (2 Caps)
Cardiff City Stadium will play host to the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final on June 20 as one of the most exciting days in the club rugby calendar comes to Wales!
General sale tickets are available from http://bit.ly/PRO14Cardiff2020 and prices start at just £13 for concessions and £26 for adults (subject to booking fees), that’s a 15% early bird discount. Family ticket (2 adults / 2 children) prices begin at £64 and fans are encouraged to buy early to get the best value tickets.