Wales head coach Warren Gatland has elected for two specialist sevens for Wales’ World Cup quarter-final
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Tommy Reffell will start for Wales in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina with head coach Warren Gatland opting for two specialist openside flankers in the absence of the injured Taulupe Faletau.
Reffell joins captain Jac Morgan on the flank, with Aaron Wainwright shifting to number eight after Faletau’s tournament was ended by a broken arm.
Fly half Dan Biggar has been passed fit to start at fly half and returns having overcome the pecoral muscle issue suffered early in Wales’ win over Australia.
The starting side picked bears a close resemblance to Gatland’s preferred team during the pool stages, with Reffell’s inclusion the sole alteration to the team that beat Australia in Lyon.
“We had a goal of making the quarter-finals which we have achieved,” Gatland said. “Now it’s about building on that momentum.
“It’s exciting to enter into the knock-out stages of the tournament and we are ready for the challenge of a quarter-final. All our preparation has been geared to getting to this spot and we’re very much relishing the opportunity.
“We’re expecting another tough encounter this weekend against a physical Argentina side. We haven’t had the perfect performance yet, but we have shown that we are a hard team to beat.
“There is a lot more growth in this squad – collectively and individually – and we can’t wait to get out there in Marseille on Saturday.”
While Biggar is fit to play, there is no place in the 23 for Gareth Anscombe, who suffered a groin injury in the warm-up before the win over Georgia last weekend.
Young Sam Costelow is thus Biggar’s bench back-up at fly half.
George North makes a 20th World Cup appearance and again unites with Nick Tompkins in the centres.
Wales XV to face Argentina in Marseille (Saturday 14 October, 4pm BST)
1. Gareth Thomas, 2. Ryan Elias, 3. Tomas Francis; 4. Will Rowlands, 5. Adam Beard; 6. Jac Morgan (captain), 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Aaron Wainwright; 9. Gareth Davies, 10. Dan Biggar; 11. Josh Adams, 12. Nick Tompkins, 13. George North, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit; 15. Liam Williams.
Replacements: 16. Dewi Lake, 17. Corey Domachowski, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Dafydd Jenkins, 20. Christ Tshiunza; 21. Tomos Williams, 22. Sam Costelow, 23. Rio Dyer.
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