Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Rees handed captain's armband

Matthew Rees

Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees will captain Wales in the first Test match of their autumn series against Australia on November 6.

Rees, who has won 39 caps, takes over from Ospreys back-row forward Ryan Jones.

Jones will miss the Wallabies clash after suffering a calf muscle tear while playing for his region against Glasgow in the Magners League last Sunday.

Jones' injury is the latest setback to hit the Wales camp after full-back Lee Byrne was ruled out of the first three autumn Tests due to a broken bone in his hand.

It was also revealed that wing Leigh Halfpenny has left the autumn Test squad after suffering ankle ligament damage.

Halfpenny, who would have been a candidate to take over at full-back from Byrne, will be sidelined for three to four weeks. Newport Gwent Dragons wing Aled Brew has been officially called up to replace him.

Brew was already training with Wales, providing injury cover for uncapped Scarlets wing George North, who is set to resume full training next week in his recovery from a broken leg.

Rees said: "It is obviously a huge honour to captain your country, and it is something that probably won't really sink in until we get to match day.

"To lead the side out at the Millennium Stadium against a side of the strength and stature of Australia is just an amazing thought. But I hope to be able to take it all in my stride.

"We are certainly looking as a squad to perform against the Wallabies and come away with the right result to kick off our autumn campaign and this Rugby World Cup season in the right way."

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre