Warren Gatland has selected his Wales side to play Ireland in the Six Nations, veteran Leigh Halfpenny returns

Warren Gatland has selected his Wales side to play Ireland in the Six Nations, veteran Leigh Halfpenny returns

WARREN GATLAND has selected his side to face high=flying Ireland in this weekend's opening game of the 2023 Six Nations.  

Ireland and Wales will lock horns in The Principality Stadium at 14.15pm, Saturday, February 4  

Ireland have not beaten Wales in Wales since 2013 but are ranked the number one side in the world and will be confident of overturning a Wales side going through a slump.  

Announcing his team today Gatland, the 59-year-old New Zealander has recalled Leigh Halfpenny to the side.  

Halfpenny, who won 97 caps for his country last featured for his country in July 2021 when Wales beat Canada. 

The 34-year-old fullback is joined in the back three with Josh Adams and Rio Dyer on the wings.  

The midfield partnership of George North and Joe Hawkins start in the centre. 

Dan Biggar and Tomos Williams start at 10 and 9 respectfully. 

The front row consists of Gareth Thomas, Ken Owens, the captain and Tomas Francis; 

Adam Beard and Alun Wyn Jones start as locks. 

The final three players in the back row are Jac Morgan, Justin Tipuric and the ever-present Taulupe Faletau. 

Speaking about the game on Saturday Gatland said, "There is some real competition in the midfield at the moment, so I am really excited about that. 

"There is a mixture in the team of some experience and some younger players. We were conscious as well picking the bench. We think we’ve got a bench that can come on and have an impact. 

"Ireland are the No 1 team in the world, so they’re going to be coming here with a lot of confidence. You don’t become the No 1 team in the world without having some pretty consistent performances. 

"We know how good they are and we are expecting a really tough contest. It’s important for us that we start well, but we need to be in the game at the last 20 minutes," he went onto add.  

"We’ve only had a couple of weeks together, but I am confident that the guys will go out and give a good account of themselves." 

Ireland and Andy Farrell will announce their team later in the week.  

The game on Saturday can be viewed on BBC One from Wales or the UK and can be seen from Ireland on Virgin Media One 


Fullback: 15. Leigh Halfpenny

Winger: 14. Josh Adams,

Centres: 13. George North, 12. Joe Hawkins,

Winger: Rio Dyer

Out half: 10. Dan Biggar, Scrum half: 9. Tomos Williams

Front row: 1. Gareth Thomas,2.  Ken Owens (capt), 3. Tomas Francis

Second Row: 4. Adam Beard, 5. Alun Wyn Jones

Back Row: 6. Jac Morgan, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Owen Williams, Alex Cuthbert.