North at 13 against Australia

Date published: November 4 2014

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Wales will start George North in their outside centre slot for Saturday’s Test match against the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales will use George North at outside centre for Saturday’s Test match against the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium.

They welcome back four players who missed the tour to South Africa.

Captain Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Webb and Richard Hibbard all return from injury to take their place in the starting XV.

Halfpenny returns to the Wales team after missing the last three tests through injury and lines up in a back-three alongside Alex Cuthbert and Liam Williams.

The centre partnership comprises of Jamie Roberts and George North, the same centre pairing that faced France at the Millennium Stadium in the Six Nations.

Ospreys half-back pair of Webb and Dan Biggar start at nine and ten respectively.

In the front-row Bath prop Paul James, who has featured in every game for Wales this calendar year, starts at loosehead alongside the returning Hibbard and Scarlets tighthead Samson Lee.

Jake Ball packs down alongside Alun-Wyn Jones in the second row, whilst the back row features British and Irish Lions trio Dan Lydiate, captain Warburton and number eight Taulupe Faletau.

Wales’ last eight matches against the Wallabies have ended in single figure defeats but head coach Warren Gatland is hopeful that run can be ended.

“We have spoke a lot about this autumn and the year ahead and we are really excited to kick off the campaign this weekend,” said Gatland.

“We have had a couple of very hard weeks at training, the squad have been put their paces but come have come through well.

“It’s good to be able to bring back a number of players who missed the last two tests and they add to what is a very experienced side.

“Injuries in the midfield means we get to see Jamie and George line-up together there again and we were pleased with how that went earlier in the year.

“We have been impressed with the form of Rhys and Dan at half-back for the Ospreys so it will be good to see hem together on this stage again.

“Paul James and Jake Ball have impressed as well so they get the nod to start.

“The last few outings against Australia have been extremely tight, we are expecting the same this weekend and its going to be another huge battle but it’s a challenge we are really looking forward to.”

Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin, Gethin Jenkins and Rhodri Jones comprise the front-row replacements alongside fellow forwards Bradley Davies and Justin Tipuric. Mike Phillips, Rhys Priestland and Cory Allen are named as the backs cover.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Cory Allen.

Date: Saturday, November 8
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kickoff: 14:30 local (GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

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