Wales v New Zealand
Hibbard and Halfpenny return for Wales
ESPN Staff
November 18, 2014
Jonathan Davies returns from a shoulder injury to make his first start of the series © Getty Images

Wales coach Warren Gatland has recalled Leigh Halfpenny, Richard Hibbard and Jonathan Davies to his starting line-up to face New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium this Saturday.

Davies missed the opening Autumn Internationals against Australia and Fiji with a shoulder injury, while Halfpenny and Hibbard were unavailable to face Fiji with concussion and ankle injuries respectively, although Hibbard angered Welsh management by appearing for Gloucester against Harlequins on Friday night.

Liam Williams, man of the match against Fiji, is only named on the bench, though Gatland said he was suffering from an ankle knock. Halfpenny takes his place.

Davies is the only change from the starting XV who faced Australia as half-back Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar have recovered from knocks to start. James Hook is on the bench but Gethin Jenkins and Bradley Davies, who both started against Fiji, weren't considered due to injury.

"It's pretty much the same side that played against Australia and it's a boost to have a few players back from injury," said Gatland. "It's one of the most experienced teams we have put out. A couple of decisions have been forced upon us. Gethin Jenkins has a hamstring strain, Bradley Davies hasn't trained for the first couple of days and Liam Williams had a bit of ankle knock at the weekend and it was a big call on him but he will start on the bench.

"We are expecting another clinical performance from the All Blacks. We need to match their intensity and aggression. The players are obviously excited about the opportunity to face the number one side at a packed Millennium Stadium. We have named an experienced team and we are really looking forward to it."


Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Clermont Auvergne), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), George North (Northampton Saints), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys); Paul James (Bath), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Unattached), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, CAPT), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), James Hook (Gloucester), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

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