HALLAM Amos has received a 21st birthday present to savour by being named in the Wales starting line-up for tomorrow’s World Cup clash against England at Twickenham.
Newport Gwent Dragons back Amos, 21 yesterday, takes over from Alex Cuthbert, who is on the bench, while there are also starts for Exeter tighthead prop Tomas Francis and Wasps lock Bradley Davies.
Elsewhere, Jamie Roberts and Scott Williams will oppose England’s new-look centre combination of Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt, while Samson Lee and Aaron Jarvis provide prop cover on the bench. Prop Paul James, who suffered a tight calf muscle against Uruguay last Sunday, does not make the match-day 23.
As expected, full-back Liam Williams takes his place in the starting XV after recovering from a knock to the thigh that he suffered against Uruguay.
Like James, Lee experienced a tight calf in the Uruguay match and went off early, but he has been named among the replacements, with York-born Francis wearing the number three shirt.
Lock Davies, meanwhile, has gained the call to be Alun-Wyn Jones’ second-row partner after putting recent injury problems behind him. He was outstanding during Wales’ World Cup warm-up win against Ireland in Dublin last month. Wales head coach Warren Gatland has decided not to tinker with his tried-and-tested back-row combination of Dan Lydiate, skipper Sam Warburton and No 8 Taulupe Faletau, despite flanker Justin Tipuric’s run of impressive form.
There is no place in the 23 for scrum-half Mike Phillips, who was called into Wales’ World Cup squad just over a fortnight ago when Rhys Webb suffered a tournament-ending foot injury.
Scarlets No 9 Gareth Davies will make only his second start for Wales, with Cardiff Blues’ Lloyd Williams one of three back-division replacements alongside Cuthbert and stand-off Rhys Priestland.
Elsewhere, 115 times-capped prop Gethin Jenkins will start his fourth World Cup campaign, packing down in the front row alongside Francis and hooker Scott Baldwin.
Asked about England’s midfield selection, Gatland said: “Sam Burgess is a world-class player. We were expecting England to go with the same 10,12,13, so that [selection] threw us for a few days. Sam is similar in size and stature to Jamie Roberts, and Brad Barritt is a very experienced defender. They have got some world-class players.”