Rugby World Cup warm-up: Rhys Patchell starts at fly-half for Wales against Ireland

Rhys Patchell made his Wales debut against Japan in Osaka in June, 2013
World Cup warm-ups: Ireland v Wales
Venue: Aviva Stadium Date: Saturday, 7 September Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

Rhys Patchell will start at fly-half in Wales’ final World Cup warm-up game, against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Captain and lock Alun Wyn Jones is among those who return.

Tomos Williams partners Patchell at half-back with Leigh Halfpenny at full-back and George North and Josh Adams on the wings.

There are no uncapped players in an experienced Wales matchday squad as they prepare for the tournament in Japan.

British and Irish Lions Ken Owens, Dan Biggar and Liam Williams are on the bench as Wales coach Warren Gatland assesses his options for their World Cup opener against Georgia on Monday, 23 September.

Scarlets’ Patchell beat Cardiff Blues’ Jarrod Evans to be Biggar’s rival for Wales’ 10 jersey in Japan after they each played a half last Saturday against Ireland.

‘Big opportunity’

Gatland said: “This is our final preparation match so it is important we get enough rugby into us, get rugby ready ahead of our RWC opener against Georgia which is just over two weeks away.

“It is important we hit the ground running in Japan and we give the players enough time on the field.

“Saturday is the first time these players would have taken to the field as members of the RWC squad, it has been a big week and it is a big opportunity for players to put their hand up and secure spots for the starting XV in Japan.”

Wales have suffered two defeats in their warm-ups.

The first came against England at Twickenham on 17 August, followed by victory against Eddie Jones’ side a week later in Cardiff.

Gatland then saw a much-changed side lose to Ireland last weekend in the Welsh capital.

In the wake of that defeat, Gatland left out experienced Scarlets props Samson Lee and Rob Evans along with Ospreys centre Scott Williams from his 31-man tournament squad.

He cited suspect durability for the decision to leave Lee and Evans behind.

A leg fracture did not prevent Dragons lock Cory Hill from being included with Gatland saying his selection was “worth the gamble”.

Hill’s absence meant there were only three squad locks to select from for the trip to Dublin in captain Jones, Ball and Adam Beard.

Scarlets’ Ball starts alongside Jones in Wales’ second-row with the captain’s fellow Osprey Beard among the replacements.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets); George North (Ospreys), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues); Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues); Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Tomas Francis (Exeter), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (capt, Ospreys), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Dragons).

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Saracens).

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