Rugby World Cup 2023: Wales’ Taulupe Faletau fit to face Fiji but Dewi Lake out

Breaking news

Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux Date: Sunday, 10 Sept Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app.

Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau has been passed fit to face Fiji in the Rugby World Cup opening game in Bordeaux on Sunday.

Flanker Jac Morgan will lead the side though fellow co-captain Dewi Lake has been left out on fitness grounds.

Hooker Ryan Elias starts, while Aaron Wainwright is named at flanker.

Scrum-half Gareth Davies starts, while centre Nick Tompkins will partner George North in an experienced midfield.

North will be appearing in his fourth World Cup while ten of the 23-man squad will be making their tournament debuts.

Cardiff’s Faletau missed all three World Cup warm-up games in August with a calf injury but has recovered in time to win his 101st cap.

Gatland had reported a clean bill of health for his squad when they arrived in France this week but Lake, who injured his knee against England at Twickenham on 12 August, has not quite made the match.

“The medical team has done a fantastic job getting Dewi back to full fitness,” said Gatland.

“He’s not had as much training under his belt as the other hookers since he picked up that knock, so Ryan Elias and Elliot Dee are selected for this game.”

Leicester flanker Tommy Reffell missed a training session on Wednesday after picking up a leg injury but the 24-year-old has been passed fit for the replacements bench.

Wales also face Portugal, Australia and Georgia in Pool C.

Gatland added: “The squad has worked incredibly hard over the last few months and has been preparing well for Fiji in the last couple of weeks.

“Fiji are a good side with some great individual athletes and they play with a lot more structure now than maybe they have done traditionally.

“We’ve had some good clarity about what we want to achieve and the way we want to play on the weekend. It’s going to be an exciting contest on Sunday and one that we are relishing.

“The boys are looking sharp, there’s a great environment in this group – players working for each other, enjoying each other’s company.

“We’re in a good place and can’t wait to get out there and get our Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign underway.”

Fiji are without fly-half Caleb Muntz who has been ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Wales team to face Fiji: L Williams; Rees-Zammit, North, Tompkins, Adams; Biggar, G Davies; G Thomas, Elias, Francis, Rowlands, Beard, Wainwright, Morgan (capt), Faletau.

Replacements: Dee, Domachowski, Lewis, D Jenkins, Reffell, T Williams, Costelow, Dyer.

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