George North to start at centre for Wales in final match of Autumn Nations Cup

Head coach Wayne Pivac has made nine changes to the team that will play Italy in Wales’ final match of 2020.

Wales bring down the curtain on their year against the team they opened it with, beating the Azzurri 42-0 at the Principality Stadium back in February, but have named a much-changed side for the Autumn Nations Cup.

George North will start outside of Johnny Williams in the centre for his first start for Wales since that win over Italy ten months ago. Nick Tompkins misses out on selection for the match at Parc y Scarlets.

Kieran Hardy and Callum Sheedy both started two weeks ago in the win over Georgia and renew their partnership for a second examination by Pivac.

Nicky Smith, Sam Parry and Tomas Francis comprise the front-row, with Parry making his first start for Wales after three appearances from the bench.

Will Rowlands partners Alun Wyn Jones in the second-row with James Botham lining up alongside British & Irish Lions duo Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau in the back-row.

“Saturday is another opportunity for these players and for us as a squad it is another opportunity to continue to build and to see the results of all the hard work in training,” said head coach Pivac.

“We have blooded eight new caps this campaign and importantly by the end of the match each of them would have had a number of appearances to their name.

“From the outset we wanted this campaign to be about giving players opportunity and we have done that.

“The hard work in training is coming through and we want to show that again on Saturday and finish the campaign on a high, with the performance and result we want.”

Wales team to play Italy in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup (Saturday, 4.45pm kick-off, S4C/Amazon Prime Video)

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Louis Rees-Zammit, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Kieran Hardy; 1 Nicky Smith, 2 Sam Parry, 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Will Rowlands, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 6 James Botham, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Jonah Holmes

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