In Saturday’s Six Nations match between Wales and England in Cardiff, Mason Grady will play his first game for his country.
Warren Gatland makes nine changes from the defeat to Scotland, replacing George North with the 20-year-old center.
As part of a revamped Welsh midfield that also features Joe Hawkins, Owen Williams makes his maiden Test debut as number 10.
Leigh Halfpenny, a seasoned test player, and wing Louis Rees-Zammit will both make their tournament debuts after recovering from injuries.
Welsh rugby has been in disarray for weeks, so Gatland, his players, and the supporters will be happy to resume play.
The Wales team decided against going on strike in response to their contract disagreement with the Welsh Rugby Union, thus the game on Saturday at the Principality Stadium will go on as scheduled (WRU).
But, things have not improved much on the field, as Wales currently sits at the bottom of the Six Nations standings.
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Gatland has continued his philosophy of developing new young players with an eye on the future and this year’s Rugby World Cup after turning to experience in the opening game against Ireland.
Grady, the half-brother of former Wales center Cory Allen, has only made 20 games for Cardiff, but at 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing more than 17 pounds, his strengths are evident.
He’s a big lad with some really nice abilities and offloading ability, and he’s also quick, so he’s the kind of center who will have it all moving ahead, according to Gatland.
Although he is still a novice, “he’s got a decent rugby brain on him, so the main objective for him is to keep talking and communicating.”
The first time Owen Williams has started for Wales since 2017, when he was a center,
As Gatland indicated, North and Liam Williams were completely left out of the matchday squad, while 105-cap fly-half Dan Biggar was moved to the bench.
Gatland continued, “The message I’m sending them is the same one I gave the squad on day one.
The players in this group who haven’t played much rugby will be examined.
“We must expose young players while keeping more seasoned players close by.
“Our team still has a lot of work to do to improve and reach the levels I believe we are capable of.
We’re not there yet; there may be a little more suffering to endure, but I have faith that we will get through it.
With Wales facing their biggest rivals and under pressure to win, Owen Williams makes his first Test start since 2017 at outside-half.
Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones, and Leigh Halfpenny are among the veterans returning to the team, according to Gatland.
“Then we combine it with providing players with a chance. In order to give Owen a chance, we need to learn more about that 10 position.
Even though Liam Williams scored a goal against Ireland, he seems to have paid a price for receiving two cautions in two games.
Halfpenny, who has 97 caps, will therefore be hoping to start for Wales for the first time since July 2021 after withdrawing on the night of the Ireland encounter due to a back spasm.
Gatland has gone back to using seven of the eight forwards that Ireland thoroughly outran.
After a chaotic week in which a training session was postponed so that players could continue negotiations with the WRU, however, familiarity might be an advantage.
Wales’ starting lineup is as follows: Halfpenny; Adams; Grady; Hawkins; Rees-Zammit; O. Williams; T. Williams; G. Thomas; Owens (captain); Francis; Beard; AW Jones; Tshiunza; Tipuric; and Faletau.