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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 13:57 GMT
Wales go under cover in Cardiff
Dafydd Jones during Wales training
Dafydd Jones will make his Wales debut against Fiji
Wales v Fiji | Millennium Stadium, Cardiff | Saturday 9 November | Kick-off 1630 GMT

Follow this weekend's rugby action here and on BBC television and radio.

Wales coach Steve Hansen has challenged his side to take full advantage of the perfect playing conditions in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Millennium Stadium roof will be closed for the match against Fiji - even though the guaranteed dry conditions will play into the hands of the tourists.


It's not a question of a shut roof suiting the flamboyant Fijians
Wales manager Alan Phillips

Hansen wants Wales to adopt a more adventurous style of play, and hopes Saturday will be the ideal stage for the players to impress the sceptical Welsh fans and media.

"If you've got a facility which is able to close the roof, why not use it?" said Hansen.

"Rugby is about involving 15 people and running the ball around and scoring tries.

"So why make it difficult to do that by leaving the roof open."

After the disappointing display against Romania last week, and the failure of Welsh clubs in European and Celtic competition, Welsh rugby needs a boost.

Wales coach Steve Hansen has reverted to using a specialist openside
Martyn Williams returns at openside flanker
A measure of the disenchantment felt among the fans will be more than evident inside the ground on Saturday - it will only be half-full.

A stark contrast to the buoyant mood sweeping through Welsh football at the moment.

But Wales captain Colin Charvis does not believe the players have to compare their performance with the footballers.

"Rugby is a separate entity," said Charvis, who is moving to number eight instead of Scott Quinnell.

"We just need to keep developing as well as we can."

Llanelli flanker Dafydd Jones will make his Test debut on Saturday, as Hansen makes six changes - plus a positional switch for skipper Colin Charvis - to side which beat Romania.

Go to teams

Hansen, whose side then face Canada on Saturday week, is looking at various options and combinations as he builds towards a 23 November appointment with New Zealand.

"No one has been dropped," Hansen said. "We've had a plan in place and we're just implementing the plan.

"If we can say we have 28, 29, 30 players who have raised their performances at Test level, we're in a better situation than we were this time last year.

"We're making some really good strides. We've just got to convert that now to game day and get in some results."

Fiji opened their five-match tour with a comprehensive 74-16 win over Pontypool last Monday and Hansen knows his team face a tough task.

"They've got great ball-handlers from number one to number 22. Anyone who knows the game will recognise that this is a very, very good Fijian side."

Jones takes over from Owen, while Cardiff captain and openside flanker Martyn Williams is also called up.

Elsewhere, Neath lock Gareth Llewellyn will extend his record as Wales' most capped forward, replacing Northampton's Steve Williams.

In the front row, Hansen has changed both props, handing starts to experienced pair Iestyn Thomas and Ben Evans.

There is just one alteration behind the scrum though, where Llanelli fly-half Stephen Jones features instead of Neil Jenkins.

Former Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain rugby league star Iestyn Harris provides back-up for Jones on the bench.

Two players - Cardiff wing Craig Morgan and Llanelli hooker Robin McBryde - were not considered because of injuries.


Wales: Rhys Williams (Cardiff); Mark Jones (Llanelli), Tom Shanklin (Saracens), Sonny Parker (Pontypridd), Gareth Thomas (Bridgend); Stephen Jones (Llanelli), Dwayne Peel (Llanelli); Iestyn Thomas (Llanelli), Mefin Davies (Pontypridd), Ben Evans (Swansea), Robert Sidoli (Pontypridd), Gareth Llewellyn (Neath), Dafydd Jones (Llanelli), Martyn Williams (Cardiff), Colin Charvis (Swansea, capt).
Reps: Andrew Lewis (Cardiff), Martyn Madden (Llanelli), Steve Williams (Northampton), Richard Parks (Pontypridd), Ryan Powell (Cardiff), Iestyn Harris (Cardiff), Jamie Robinson (Cardiff).

Fiji: Joseph Narruhn (Hino Motors, Jpn); Norman Ligairi (Southland, NZ), Seru Rabeni (Otago, NZ)/Epeli Ruivadra (Dravo), Seremaia Bai (Southland, NZ), Fero Lasagavibau (Marist Northland, NZ); Nicky Little (Saracens, Eng), Jacob Rauluni (Rotherham, Eng); Richard Nyholt (Queensland Uni, Aus), Greg Smith (Fraser Tech, NZ, capt), Bill Cavubati (Masterton, NZ), Apisai Naevo (Kaneka, Jpn), Simon Raiwalui (Newport, Wal), Setareki Tawake (Brothers, Aus), Alifereti Doviverata (Yamaha, Jpn), Alivereti Mocelutu (Neath, Wal).
Reps: Bill Gadolo (Suva), Paula Biu (Nadroga), Isaia Rasila (Nadroga), Sisa Koyamaibole (Toyota Shokki, Jpn), Samisoni Rabaka (Airport), Issac Mow (Marist Suva), Waisale Serevi (Stade Montois, Fr).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Wales coach Steve Hansen
"Dafydd is a good athlete"
Wales captain Colin Charvis
"It's important that the team improves"
Debutant Dafydd Jones
"It's up to me to show what I can do"
Wales play four Tests against Romania, Fiji, Canada and New Zealand

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