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Autumn internationals, Sport

Ryan Jones will captain Wales against Fiji in third autumn international on Friday

ryan jones, wales, rugby union, rugby, Fiji, Cardiff, Millennium Stadium, Autumn international

Ryan Jones will make his 44th appearance for Wales against Fiji

Ryan Jones has regained the Wales captaincy and will take charge of a much-changed team against Fiji at the Millennium Stadium on Friday night.

If flanker Dan Lydiate wins his fitness race to overcome an ankle problem, there will be nine switches from the side beaten 29-25 by world champions South Africa.

Watch former Wales captain Mark Taylor’s expert analysis on the South Africa performance and he also looks ahead to the Fiji game

And Wales coach Warren Gatland is set to blood another exciting youngster in Tonga-born Newport Gwent Dragons back-row prospect Toby Faletau.

Faletau, 20, is on the bench, while 18-year-old Scarlets wing George North, who scored two tries on his Test debut against the Springboks, is retained from that game along with Lee Byrne, James Hook, Paul James, Adam Jones, Jonathan Thomas and Martyn Williams, who will start if Lydiate is ruled out.

If Lydiate makes it, then Williams will be rested from the matchday 22 alongside players including captain Matthew Rees and lock Alun-Wyn Jones.

The changes include a first Test start in three years for Dragons wing Aled Brew, who replaces dislocated shoulder victim Shane Williams, while fly-half Dan Biggar, hooker Huw Bennett and lock Ian Gough also start.

Wales, having lost their opening two autumn games, are desperate for a win against Fiji, their World Cup conquerors in Nantes three years ago.

Gatland said: “We must maintain our focus this week.

“We know all too well that the Fijians bring an extra dimension to their game when they face Wales, and there is no doubt they will have targeted us as a game they think they can win.

“We have been self-critical this week about our failure to close out matches when the finishing line might be in sight, no less than was evident against South Africa.

“We need to be ruthless against Fiji.”

Wales team:

L Byrne (Ospreys); G North (Scarlets), J Hook (Ospreys), A Bishop (Ospreys), A Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Rees (Cardiff Blues); P James (Ospreys), H Bennett (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), D Jones (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons)/M Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys).

Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), M Phillips (Ospreys), S Jones (Scarlets), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues).

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