Flanker Aaron Wainwright will make his Rugby World Cup debut in Wales’ tournament opener against Georgia on Monday, while skipper Alun Wyn Jones will appear in a fourth Rugby World Cup.
The 21-year-old Wainwright features in Wales’ starting back-row alongside Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi, with Ross Moriarty among the replacements.
Skipper Jones will equal Gethin Jenkins’ Wales cap record of 129 appearances when he leads the team out in Toyota City.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland has chosen a starting line-up packed with star names as the Six Nations champions target a flying start.
Jones is joined by fellow British and Irish Lions Test players in Tipuric, full-back Liam Williams, wing George North, centre Jonathan Davies and hooker Ken Owens.
Wales' team for our @rugbyworldcup opener against @GeorgianRugby on Monday ЪЈ┤заЂДзаЂбзаЂизаЂгзаЂ│заЂ┐ T├«m profiadol am ein g├фm agoriadol yn Toyota. #WALvGEO pic.twitter.com/mOvXMoCyQ4
— Welsh Rugby Union ЪЈЅ (@WelshRugbyUnion) September 21, 2019
There is also a chance on the bench for fly-half Rhys Patchell, who has recovered from the concussion he suffered during Wales’ final World Cup warm-up game against Ireland in Dublin two weeks ago.
Elsewhere, there is a start for Scarlets prop Wyn Jones, and Jake Ball is Alun Wyn Jones’ second-row partner with Aaron Shingler providing lock cover among the replacements.
“With Aaron, he is just a player that has continued to improve,” Gatland said of Wainwright.
“He’s incredibly athletic and an intelligent rugby player. There is only an upward curve for him as a player.
“Since his first cap 12 months or so ago, he’s just gone from strength to strength.”
Williams: I’ve learned from Farrell
Wales’ Liam Williams says he has learned from Saracens team-mate Owen Farrell during what he described as the best year of his rugby career.
Gatland also paid tribute to his skipper Jones as he prepares to equal the Wales cap record.
“He has been absolutely outstanding. He has got better with age – he’s like a good wine,” said Gatland.
“He deserves all the accolades. He’s been a great servant to Welsh rugby. That recognition hasn’t just been in Wales. It’s been worldwide.
“It’s pleasing to see someone from Wales recognised as one of the best players in his position.”
Squad locks Adam Beard and Cory Hill have targeted being available for the Australia game next weekend.
Beard has arrived in Toyota City after remaining at home to have his appendix removed last week, while Hill is recovering from a stress fracture to his leg.
After Georgia, Wales have a six-day turnaround before their Tokyo appointment with Australia that could decide which team wins Pool D.
And Monday’s meeting will be Wales’ first with Georgia since they posted an unconvincing 13-6 victory over them in Cardiff during the 2017 autumn Tests.
Wales go into the game after assistant coach Rob Howley was sent home from Japan earlier this week for an alleged breach of World Rugby’s betting regulations.
Howley, 48, has returned to Wales to assist with an investigation relating to a potential breach of World Rugby regulation six, specifically betting on rugby union.
Former Wales fly-half Stephen Jones has replaced Howley on the coaching team, and was involved in his first training session on Saturday.