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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 13:37 GMT
Wales ring changes for Islanders
Chris Horsman, Rhys Thomas and Duncan Jones train in the Wales front row
Wales' front row back-ups will get a chance on Saturday
Wales v Pacific Islands
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 11 November
Kick-off: 1430 GMT
*Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales & Radio Cymru, and this website

Wales have made 14 changes to the side that drew with Australia for Saturday's home Test with the Pacific Islands.

Duncan Jones takes over as captain from the injured Stephen Jones and forms a new front-row alongside prop Chris Horsman and hooker Rhys Thomas.

James Hook, who starred against the Wallabies, moves to inside centre to partner Sonny Parker, which allows Ceri Sweeney to start at fly-half.

Full-back Kevin Morgan is sole survivor from last Saturday's starting line-up.

Duncan is awarded the captaincy after a sterling performance leading the team out in Argentina

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins

Morgan's inclusion means a surprise outing for Ospreys full-back Lee Byrne on the wing, with Scarlets' Mark Jones occupying the opposite flank.

Parker will be making his first Wales appearance for almost a year after the New Zealand-born centre ended his international retirement this week.

Despite Hook's heroics at fly-half against Australia, Sweeney gets the nod to form a half-back partnership with Blues scrum-half Mike Phillips.

Scarlets centre Gavin Evans has been named on the bench and would win his first cap if he joined the action at the Millennium Stadium.

"A lot has been said about James Hook's mature performance on Saturday for such a young man and we have decided to have another look at him this weekend, this time at inside centre," said Wales coach Gareth Jenkins.

"We used him effectively in that position against the Pumas in the summer and he has featured there for his region so this is a chance to further assess his prospects."

Ospreys centre Sonny Parker
Parker will be making his international comeback

With fly-half Stephen Jones out with a knee injury and Gareth Thomas nursing a rib injury and sinusitis, prop Duncan Jones gets another chance to captain the side having taken the armband for the two summer Tests in Argentina.

"Duncan is awarded the captaincy after a sterling performance leading the team out in Argentina," said Jenkins.

"He is one of many leaders in the squad capable of carrying the responsibility of leading his country."

Prop Horsman is available to play after being denied his place to face Australia because of a club-versus-country dispute.

The Worcester man will be making his first appearance since last year's autumn series having missed the Six Nations campaign because of injury.

Michael Owen has been switched from his accustomed role at number eight to partner Robert Sidoli in the second row.

Alun Wyn Jones, who has played most of his rugby in the second row for the Ospreys, is selected at blind-side flanker to win only his third cap.

To make 14 changes and come up with a team like the one we have named will make us the envy of many nations

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins

Scarlets pair Gavin Thomas (flanker) and Alix Popham (number eight) complete the back-row.

"We are making a strong statement with selection for this game because we believe we have a special group of players here," said Jenkins.

"To make 14 changes and come up with a team like the one we have named will make us the envy of many nations.

"From one to 15 we have fielded a team of players who have the ability to stake a claim for selection next week [against Canada]."

*The Pacific Islands team is due to named at 0845 GMT on Thursday, 9 November.


Wales team to face the Pacific Islands at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 11 November:

K Morgan (Dragons); L Byrne (Ospreys), S Parker (Ospreys), J Hook (Ospreys), M Jones (Scarlets); C Sweeney (Dragons), M Phillips (Blues); D Jones (capt, Ospreys), R Thomas (Blues), C Horsman (Worcester), M Owen (Dragons), R Sidoli (Blues), A Wyn Jones (Ospreys), G Thomas Scarlets), A Popham (Scarlets).
Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), G Jenkins (Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys), G Cooper (Dragons), G Evans (Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys).


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