Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Gatland keeps changes to a minimum

Gethin Jenkins

Coach Warren Gatland has vowed it will be a case of all systems go for his Wales team in Friday's World Cup bronze medal match against Australia at Eden Park.

Prop Gethin Jenkins has been appointed captain in the absence of his Cardiff Blues colleague Sam Warburton. Warburton is serving a three-week ban after he was sent off during Wales' agonising semi-final loss to France three days ago.

Toby Faletau will make his seventh start of the tournament - the only Wales player with a 100% appearance record - but he moves from number eight to openside flanker as Warburton's replacement.

Former Wales skipper Ryan Jones will fill the number eight role, with Paul James packing down at tighthead prop instead of Adam Jones, who has a calf muscle injury.

One change, also in the pack, sees Bradley Davies replacing Alun-Wyn Jones. Ospreys lock Jones is on the bench, where forwards Ryan Bevington and Andy Powell have been handed call-ups.

"We are sticking with the majority of the side which has put together a string of performances for us so far in this tournament," Gatland said.

"The one change which wasn't forced, in the second row, is based on the fact that Alun-Wyn Jones ran himself into the ground when we had 14 men against France.

"We face Australia back home at the Millennium Stadium in just over a month's time, and we are single-minded in our assertion that we want that homecoming to be a celebration of us achieving the status of one of the top three teams in the world.

"We have come a long way and put together a string of performances that the nation can be proud of so far in New Zealand. And we need to ensure that the history books reflect what we know we are capable of. And it is only by beating the Wallabies on Friday that we feel this will be achieved."

Jenkins, capped 81 times, has led Wales on two previous occasions.

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