Wales: Louis Rees-Zammit starts at full-back with Dan Lydiate in for the injured Tommy Reffell

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has made a surprise selection by picking Louis Rees-Zammit at full-back for their Autumn Nations Series encounter against Argentina.

The 21-year-old has never played at 15 at international level and has rarely done so for Gloucester in the club game.

Leigh Halfpenny pulled out injured late on last weekend, which meant Gareth Anscombe replaced him and Rhys Priestland came in at fly-half for the New Zealand match.

Alex Cuthbert returns

With Anscombe back at 10 against Argentina, Rees-Zammit moves to full-back and Alex Cuthbert comes into the side on the wing.

The rest of the backline is unchanged as Rio Dyer keeps his place following a try-scoring debut against the All Blacks.

Up front, changes have been kept to a minimum with Dillon Lewis coming in at tighthead and Dan Lydiate starting in the back-row ahead of Tommy Reffell in an injury-enforced alteration.

On the bench, there are two new props in the shape of Rhodri Jones and Sam Wainwright, while the most capped Test player, Alun Wyn Jones, is dropped from the squad.

Ben Carter is therefore among the Wales replacements alongside Jac Morgan, Kieran Hardy, Priestland and Owen Watkin.

“Last week we had Leigh Halfpenny unavailable at the last minute and we’d trained a certain way so we went with Gareth Anscombe at full back who’s done that before at this level,” Pivac said.

“We’re back to Gareth at 10 and we have Louis Rees-Zammit at full back. He’s trained there the entire week. He’s looked good in training and it’s something we’ve explored in the background, so it will be good information going forwards with the Six Nations around the corner and the Rugby World Cup.

“Dillon had done well in South Africa. This is probably the last opportunity to give guys starts and learn as much as we can. Both Dillon and Dan Lydiate have trained well.

“There are some changes among the replacements. There are some niggles that players pick up in games and in training, so some guys have been left out to get themselves 100% right for next week.”

Giving other players a chance

He added: “Some boys we want to have a look at across the competition so in the case of Nicky Smith and Rhodri Jones that’s certainly what we wanted to do the first couple of games.

“We saw last week what Argentina are capable of. They’re a very big team, very strong up front. They have expanded their attacking game and they took an excellent try against England from the set play. They’ve knocked over some big scalps in the last 18 months, New Zealand being one of them.

“They are going to be a big challenge but one we’re looking forward to. After last week’s performance we need a reaction from our team.”

Wales: 15 Louis Rees-Zammit, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gareth Thomas
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Jac Morgan, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Owen Watkin

Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

READ MORE: Argentina head coach Michael Cheika sticks with same matchday squad for Wales Test

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