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Nine uncapped Wales players to face Tonga

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/06/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

Wales will hand first caps to Steffan Evans, Thomas Young and Seb Davies when they start against Tonga in Auckland.

Winger Evans, flanker Young and 20-year-old lock Davies are the three uncapped players in Robin McBryde's starting XV at Eden Park on Friday, with six more among the reserves.

It means an inexperienced side will take on the Pacific Islanders with Wales shorn of 12 of their best players who are on duty with the British and Irish Lions.

Davies is perhaps the most surprising of the selections and faces a daunting debut after making just a handful of appearances for the Cardiff Blues this season.

Captain Jamie Roberts partners Scott Williams in an experienced midfield partnership while New Zealander Gareth Anscombe starts at fullback.

On the bench, Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Ollie Griffiths, Aled Davies and Owen Williams are all new faces at the highest level.

Tonga will be led by former Chiefs and Highlanders centre Siali Piutau, who has forged a career in Japan and England.

Wales: Gareth Anscombe, Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts (capt), Steffan Evans, Sam Davies, Gareth Davies, Nicky Smith, Kristian Dacey, Tomas Francis, Seb Davies, Cory Hill, Aaron Shingler, Thomas Young, Josh Navidi. Reserves: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Ellis Jenkins, Ollie Griffiths, Aled Davies, Owen Williams, Cory Allen.

Tonga: Dave Halaifonua, Nafi Tuitavake, Siale Piutau (capt), Vili Tahitua, Cooper Vuna, Latiume Fosita, Tane Takulua, Valentino Mapapalangi, Nili Latu, Dan Faleafa, Steve Mafi, Leva Fifita, Ben Tameifuna, Paula Ngauamo, Latu Talakai. Reserves: Suliasi Taufalele, Sila Puafisi, Phil Kite, Sione Tau, Mike Faleafa, Leon Fukofuka, Kali Hala, Kiti Taimani.

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