CARDIFF, Wales — Wales selected a virtual reserve team for its first rugby test against Georgia in Cardiff on Saturday, with Liam Williams the only player retaining his place from the loss to Australia last weekend.

Williams switched to fullback from the wing, while flanker Dan Lydiate will captain the Welsh for the third time as the most experienced player in the team with 60 caps.

“We felt this week was really important to give a number of the squad as much exposure as possible to test match rugby,” Wales coach Warren Gatland said on Thursday

Four players make just their second appearance for Wales: Center Owen Watkin, prop Leon Brown, lock Adam Beard, and flanker Sam Cross.

Wales lost to Australia 29-21 at the start of a grueling month that also includes games against New Zealand and South Africa.

Georgia picked the same lineup which beat Canada 54-22 in Tbilisi last weekend. The side includes fullback Soso Matiashvili, who scored 34 points including two tries against Canada, a record tally by a Lelos player in a match.

The only change was in the reserves, where Georgia’s first player to 100 caps, fullback Merab Kvirikashvili, has come in for recent under-20 player Giorgi Kveseladze, who made his debut against Canada.


Wales: Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Owen Watkin, Hallam Amos, Rhys Priestland, Rhys Webb; Seb Davies, Sam Cross, Dan Lydiate (captain), Cory Hill, Adam Beard, Leon Brown, Kristian Dacey, Nicky Smith. Reserves: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Tomas Francis, Josh Navidi, Taulupe Faletau, Aled Davies, Dan Biggar, Owen Williams.

Georgia: Soso Matiashvili, Giorgi Koshadze, Davit Katcharava, Merab Sharikadze (captain), Mirian Modebadze, Lasha Khmaladze, Vasil Lobzhanidze; Beka Bitsadze, Vito Koleilishvili, Lasha Lomidze, Giorgi Nemsadze, Kote Mikautadze, Levan Chilachava, Jaba Bregvadze, Mikheil Nariashvili. Reserves: Shalva Mamukashvili, Kakha Asieshvili, Soso Bekoshvili, Giorgi Chkhaidze, Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, Giorgi Begadze, Revaz Jintchvelashvili, Merab Kvirikashvili.

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