WALES have named their side to take on Scotland in their opening NatWest 6 Nations encounter on Saturday with Josh Adams set to make his debut on the wing.
The 22-year-old, who has scored 13 tries for Worcester this season, will earn his first cap at Principality Stadium and joins six Scarlets across the back-line.
Leigh Halfpenny and Steff Evans complete the back-three alongside Adams with Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams partnering in the midfield. Rhys Patchell and Gareth Davies take their regional partnership onto the international stage.
Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Samson Lee pack down together with Cory Hill named alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second-row.
Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi, who started alongside each other three times in the autumn, start with British & Irish Lion Ross Moriarty at number eight.
“The first-up game against Scotland this weekend is really important for us and this is a great chance for this group of players to get us off to a good start” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.
“We have been watching Josh (Adams) closely, he is top try scorer in the English Premiership and has been going well and we are excited for him.
“Both Rhys (Patchell) and Gareth (Anscombe) have been training really well over the last couple of weeks. It was a tough call between them, Rhys has started most of his games for the Scarlets at ten, we are really happy with his form and the combination with Gareth at nine.
“We know what a quality player Ross is, it’s great he is back and available and we are looking forward to seeing his explosive ball carrying on Saturday.
“For this opening game, we looked at a lot of combinations, especially the front-row. It is exciting to see Samson back playing well and the familiarity of the Scarlets front-row will be important.”
Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis provide the front-row cover on the bench with Ospreys duo Bradley Davies and Justin Tipuric completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe and Owen Watkin provide the back-line cover.
Wales Team To Play Scotland (Saturday, February 3, KO 14.15)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (74 Caps)
Josh Adams (Worcester) (*UNCAPPED)
Scott Williams (Scarlets) (51 Caps)
Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (1 Cap)
Steff Evans (Scarlets) (5 Caps)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (5 Caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (27 Caps)
Rob Evans (Scarlets) (20 Caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets) (52 Caps)
Samson Lee (Scarlets) (34 Caps)
Cory Hill (Dragons) (10 Caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (113 Caps) CAPT
Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (13 Caps)
Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (7 Caps)
Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) (17 Caps)
Elliot Dee (Dragons) (2 Caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (5 Caps)
Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (26 Caps)
Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (57 Caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (52 Caps)
Aled Davies (Scarlets) (5 Caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (11 Caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (2 Caps)
Wales v Scotland postponed
WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.
The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.
A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.
“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.
“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.
“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”
Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended
THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.
The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.
The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.
Exercise Referral Scheme doing more for health intervention than ever before
A record 35,069 participants attended Exercise Referral classes during 2640 hours of health classes in 2019.
The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is an evidence-based health intervention scheme which incorporates physical activity and behavioural change techniques to support referred clients to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being.
NERS Ceredigion has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past year. A coordinator and four full time exercise professionals work to deliver the scheme, delivering 73 classes per week. The age of participants range from 16 years old, with the eldest participant in Ceredigion being 95.
Exercise class options include Gym, Circuit, Postural Stability (seated), Spin Bikes, Aqua Aerobics, Tai Chi and Pilates. Venues include council and community centres in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Lampeter, Tregaron, Cardigan and Llandysul.
Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure, highlighted the benefits of the scheme, “There are many physical, psychological and social benefits to being part of the scheme, including confidence-building, better self-esteem, meeting new people and being generally fitter and healthier. Ceredigion Actif’s highly qualified Health Intervention Team provide opportunities to exercise that are fun, rewarding and that can be incorporated into everyday life.”
NERS Ceredigion targets people with a medical condition through various pathways including generic, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary, PSI falls, stroke rehabilitation, mental health, cancer and weight management. The 16 week tailored programme of exercise is delivered by a team of specialist Level 4 qualified exercise professionals who guide referred participants towards realising their individual goals.
A participant in Aberystwyth said, “This has been the best thing I have ever done. I have thrived from doing different activities and pushing myself out of my comfort zone which has not only helped my self-esteem but also my depression and everything else including my pain. I have also made new friends which I didn’t even consider would happen and we’re not only being social but we’re having fun too which is a bonus”.
There is ongoing monitoring from the instructors with follow up assessments at 16 weeks as well as on completion at 52 weeks. Long-term ‘maintenance’ options are available post 16 weeks which include the continuation of exercise classes as well as opportunities to join clubs such as walking basketball, walking football, golf sessions and walking rugby.
During 2018-2019 there were 913 referrals to the scheme. To gain access to the scheme, a person needs to be referred by a Health Professional, usually a GP, Practice Nurse or a condition specific Physiotherapist.
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