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Jones eyes Wales record

Stephen Jones will become his country's most capped player when Wales launch their World Cup warm-up schedule against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

But centre Gavin Henson has not been included among coach Warren Gatland's matchday squad.

Scarlets fly-half Jones makes his 101st Test appearance, putting him one in front of Gareth Thomas.

Elsewhere, Gatland hands starts to full-back Rhys Priestland, 19-year-old George North on the right wing and Huw Bennett at hooker instead of an injured Matthew Rees.

Flanker Sam Warburton captains the team in Rees' absence, but Henson will have to wait to press any World Cup selection claims. Wales meet England in Cardiff on Saturday week, then host Argentina seven days later.

Henson is replaced in the side by Jamie Roberts, with Wales coach Warren Gatland admitting he has opted for his strongest available line-up.

"These are the men in possession of the jersey at the moment and it is now up to them to hold on to it and they will only do that with a performance at Twickenham at the weekend," he said.

"The stakes are high for individuals, but as a team it is also important for us to create some momentum as we head for the World Cup in New Zealand. We have made changes but we have some pretty established combinations coming back with Jamie Roberts returning to the midfield and Alun-Wyn (Jones) and Bradley (Davies) in the second row."

Wales team to play England at Twickenham on Saturday: R Priestland (Scarlets); G North (Scarlets), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); P James (Ospreys), H Bennett (Ospreys), C Mitchell (Exeter), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: L Burns (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Bevington (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Jones (Ospreys), T Knoyle (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), M Stoddart (Scarlets).


From Belfast Telegraph