Wales skipper Jones to equal Test record against France

·2-min read
Appearance record - Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones
Appearance record - Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones is set to equal the Test appearance world record after being named on Thursday to lead his side against France this weekend.

The 35-year-old lock will make his 148th international appearance (including nine for the British and Irish Lions) in Paris on Saturday to draw level with New Zealand's World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw.

"It is a fabulous achievement," said Wales coach Wayne Pivac of Jones' landmark after announcing his team on Thursday. "He epitomises what a great rugby player is all about. 

"He is a true professional on and off the field and a gentleman of the game. On the field he leads by example and you can't ask more of your captain and we are very privileged here in Wales to have him."

Wales' first game for seven months sees a Test recall for centre Jonathan Davies, who last played an international match in November after suffering a knee injury at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Meanwhile Pivac has selected uncapped Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit and Ospreys hooker Sam Parry among the replacements.

The 19-year-old Rees-Zammit scored 10 tries during the 2019/20 English Premiership season.

Pivac added: "The players are excited. It has been a long time and we can't wait for Saturday.

"We have six matches this autumn, and the game against France helps us get back into our stride, international rugby-wise."

This match will serve as a warm-up for both sides' delayed Six Nations finales, with Wales welcoming Scotland to Llanelli next weekend and France facing Ireland in fixtures postponed by several months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pivac's team includes plenty of experienced internationals, with winger George North set to win his 96th cap.

In the pack, Ryan Elias takes over Ken Owens following his fellow hooker's shoulder injury, with Cory Hill partnering Jones in the second-row and Aaron Wainwright starting at blindside flanker in a back-row featuring Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau.

Wales are currently fifth in the Six Nations table, with one win from four games.

Wales (15-1)

Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Jonathan Davies, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Cory Hill; Samson Lee, Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre

Replacements: Sam Parry, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, James Davies, Gareth Davies, Rhys Patchell, Louis Rees-Zammit

jdg/iwd