Jac Morgan to captain Wales in Rugby World Cup warm-up clash with England in Cardiff

Ospreys flanker Jac Morgan will lead out Wales against England at the Principality Stadium on Saturday as head coach Warren Gatland runs the rule over potential Rugby World Cup captains; ex-England prop Henry Thomas is among Wales’ replacements for the match (kick-off 5.30pm)

        Jac Morgan to captain Wales in Rugby World Cup warm-up clash with England in Cardiff

Jac Morgan will captain Wales against England in the first Rugby World Cup warm-up match on Saturday

Jac Morgan will captain Wales in Saturday’s opening Rugby World Cup warm-up clash against England at the Principality Stadium.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is set to run the rule over several candidates for the World Cup captaincy in preparation games against England home and away, plus South Africa in Cardiff, with Ospreys flanker Morgan getting the nod for the first of those.

Centre Max Llewellyn, plus props Corey Domachowski and Keiron Assiratti will make their Test debuts on Saturday as well. Meanwhile, former England prop Henry Thomas, who qualifies for Wales through his father and has been able to switch countries under new World Rugby regulations, is among the replacements along with fellow uncapped forward Taine Plumtree.

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“We’ve named Jac as captain for this match, and it is a great honour for him to be leading his country,” Gatland said.

“We will be looking at probably having a different captain for each of the matches as we give as many as possible in the squad an opportunity to impress, but also mindful about potential combinations as we get closer to naming the World Cup squad.”

While Morgan has the first opportunity, other players expected to be in the World Cup captaincy shake-up are hooker Dewi Lake, lock Will Rowlands and fly-half Dan Biggar.

Wales tackle England after tough training camps in Switzerland and Turkey, and Gatland is now relishing some competitive action in a match which will also see full-back Leigh Halfpenny win his 100th cap.

        Jac Morgan to captain Wales in Rugby World Cup warm-up clash with England in Cardiff

Former England prop Henry Thomas is now able to represent Wales under new World Rugby regulations

“I have been really pleased with the players’ effort and commitment in Turkey, Switzerland and the mini camps in Wales, but now it is about putting what we’ve been training into practice,” Gatland said.

“There is some great competition among the squad in all positions, and we’ve selected a team this week with a few debutants because we want to give them the opportunity to see what they can do.

“There is a lot to play for over the next three matches, and everyone is still in contention to make that final squad for France.”

Llewellyn, who is the son of former Wales lock Gareth Llewellyn, will partner George North in midfield, with Cardiff props Domachowski and Assiratti also gaining immediate chances to impress.

        Jac Morgan to captain Wales in Rugby World Cup warm-up clash with England in Cardiff

Leigh Halfpenny is set to win his 100th cap for Wales this weekend

Swansea-born Plumtree, meanwhile, goes straight into the matchday 23 after linking up with the Wales squad ahead of last month’s training trip to Switzerland. He has played Super Rugby in New Zealand and will be part of the Scarlets set-up next season.

For Halfpenny, Saturday’s game sees him reach three figures almost 15 years after he made his Wales debut as a teenager against South Africa.

“I would like to make a special mention for Leigh Halfpenny, who will win his 100th cap for Wales on Saturday,” Gatland said.

“Reaching this milestone is an incredible achievement and testament to the player and person Leigh is. I know it will be a very special day for him and all his family.”

Wales team to face England

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Max Llewellyn, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Costelow 9, Gareth Davies; 1 Corey Domachowski, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Keiron Assiratti, 4 Dafydd Jenkins, 5 Will Rowlands, 6 Christ Tshiunza, 7 Jac Morgan (c), 8 Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Taine Plumtree, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Mason Grady.