Jenkins to skipper Wales against Fiji, Tshiunza on bench

·2-min read
Flanker Ellis Jenkins will captain Wales in their one-off Test with Fiji just days after he returned to international rugby against South Africa following three nightmare years through injury (AFP/GEOFF CADDICK)

Ellis Jenkins has been named Wales captain for Sunday's test match against Fiji, while uncapped teenager Christ Tshiunza is set to make his debut from the bench.

Cardiff flanker Jenkins only returned to the international stage after three years out with injury in last week's 23-18 defeat by world champions South Africa.

In other changes, with 17 players unavailable through injury, Wales coach Wayne Pivac has handed a first start to Ospreys wing Alex Cuthbert in four years, while Thomas Young was named on the other flank, Kieran Hardy starts at scrum-half and Josh Adams moves from wing to centre, where he is partnered in midfield by Johnny Williams.

Pivac hailed versatile Exeter forward Tshiunza, 19, as a promising prospect.

"He has come in and he has trained well. We are looking at him as a player, in the future, who can hopefully cover two positions, in the second-row and at six.

"We are really looking forward to seeing him out there. He will be full of energy, he is very excited about the opportunity and he is one for the future," he said of the player who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and moved to Wales in 2010.

Pivac added: "We want to be able to use our squad where we can. In terms of the forwards, we don't have a lot of options with injuries and unavailability.

"The exciting one is Josh Adams getting an opportunity. That is really looking at the future.

"When you have to pick a World Cup squad of 33, you've got to have players that can play in more than one position and we have been wanting to do it for a while, so we will see how Josh goes in the midfield.

"The introduction of Alex Cuthbert, along with Louis Rees-Zammit, is an eye on the speed that the Fijians will bring, and we need to be able to match that.

"They are a good side. They’re a much-improved side of some of the Fiji teams of old, certainly since when I was involved with Fiji they’ve come a long way," Pivac said of the team he coached between 2004-07.

Wales team (15-1) to play Fiji at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday (KO 1415 GMT):

Liam Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Josh Adams, Johnny Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit; Dan Biggar, Kieran Hardy; Taine Basham, Thomas Young, Ellis Jenkins (capt); Adam Beard, Will Rowlands; Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre

Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, WillGriff John, Christ Tshiunza, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins

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