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Rugby World Cup 2023: Dewi Lake captains much-changed Wales side against Portugal

Rugby World Cup 2023: Portugal v Wales

Venue: Stade de Nice Date: Saturday, 16 Sept Kick-off: 16:45 BST

Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Hooker Dewi Lake captains Wales against Portugal on Saturday as Warren Gatland makes 13 changes to the side that beat Fiji in their World Cup opener.

Only Taulupe Faletau and Louis Rees-Zammit survive in the starting side with Gareth Anscombe named at fly-half.

Exeter locks Dafydd Jenkins and Christ Tshiunza start, while scrum-half Tomos Williams wins his 50th cap.

Portugal have largely reverted to the squad that won a World Cup spot at a November play-off to qualify.

Los Lobos coach Patrice Lagisquet has included 19 of the squad that drew 16-16 with the United States in November, 2022 to claim a spot in Pool C in France.

Thirteen of the starting XV play in France, but only Perpignan hooker Mike Tadjer plays in the Top 14.

For Wales, Gatland "made a few changes this week given the six-day turnaround" between winning their opener in Bordeaux and the next encounter in Nice.

"This is an opportunity now for this match-day 23. I've said before, but there's some great competition within the squad which is what we want to see," said Gatland.

"There's a chance now for this group to go out Saturday and to put down their own marker in the tournament."

Centres Mason Grady and Johnny Williams join Lake and Tshiunza in making their first World Cup appearances, while flanker Dan Lydiate and full-back Leigh Halfpenny will be playing in their third tournaments.

At 34 years, eight months and 26 days, Halfpenny becomes the oldest back to play a World Cup game for Wales, surpassing Shane Williams who was 34 years, seven months and 26 days against Australia in Auckland in 2011..

Lake takes captain's role

Lake, 24, was named as co-captain for the tournament alongside Jac Morgan, who led the side against Fiji.

Ospreys hooker Lake suffered a knee injury while captaining Wales against England at Twickenham in August and missed the victory against Fiji in Bordeaux.

Anscombe, 32, has not played for Wales since suffering a serious shoulder injury against Australia in November 2022. He missed the 2023 Six Nations tournament and three World Cup warm-up games in August.

It will be Anscombe's first World Cup match since the 2015 quarter-final defeat against South Africa with the fly-half missing the 2019 tournament in Japan because of a serious knee injury. Sam Costelow is named among the replacements.

Exeter lock Dafydd Jenkins, 20, is the youngest member of the squad and makes his first World Cup start after coming on as a replacement against Fiji.

It is a first international start for the 21-year-old Tshiunza at lock after playing most of his senior club and international rugby so far at flanker.

The only member of the 33-man squad not to feature in the opening two games is prop Henry Thomas. He was due to start but was withdrawn because of a tight hamstring as a precaution.

"We've done a thorough debrief of last week's game and know the areas we need to improve," said Gatland.

"We have a clear plan of how we want to play on Saturday and it's about going out there and executing that as we have prepared.

"Portugal are a skilful side and will be raring to go this weekend in their first match of the tournament.

"We're excited to get back out there and looking forward to seeing more great support from the travelling fans out in Nice."

Wales face Australia in Lyon on 24 September before their final Pool C match against Georgia in Nantes 13 days later.

Wales team to face Portugal: L Halfpenny; Rees-Zammit, Grady, J Williams, Dyer; Anscombe, T Williams; Smith, Lake (capt), D Lewis, Tshiunza, Jenkins, Lydiate, Reffell, Faletau.

Replacements: Elias, Domachowski, Francis, Beard, Basham, G Davies, Costelow, Adams.

Portugal team to face Wales: Guedes; Pinto, Lima, Appleton (capt), Marta; Portela, Marques; Fernandes, Tadjer, Alves, Madeira, Cerqueira, Granate, Martins, Simoes.

Replacements: Costa, Campergue, Ferreira, Belo, Wallis, Lucas, Moura, Storti.

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