Wales coach Wayne Pivac has named his team to face Italy this weekend.
George North will start in midfield for the Autumn Nations Cup finale as Pivac makes nine personnel changes from the defeat to England.
Here's what he had to say about his team selection.
Question: Why have you named the team on Wednesday rather than Thursday?
Wayne Pivac: First day of the week, we wanted to get it out of the way nice and early and have everyone focused on the game.
Q: You've made nine changes - why was that?
WP: It’s looking at each game on its merits. For us, we want to keep giving guys opportunities. I think we’ve had eight debutants who have had a second opportunity across the competition.
Just about everyone in the squad has had a couple of opportunities. It’s a tournament where we said from the outset that we wanted to build some depth. We’re continuing to do so.
And also, we’ve put out a side we think can get a result. That was part of what I laid down to the other coaches when we selected the side.
We’ve got to select a side that we believe can get a result, but still build depth. That was the two criteria.
Q: You've opted for Georg North at centre again?
WP: At the outset against Italy in the Six Nations, we played him there.
With Jonathan Davies, we know he has had some injuries in the last few years and it’s about who’s behind Jonathan and can take that role when he’s not there.
Nick [Tompkins] has had an opportunity and now George gets a second go. We believe this is the time to ask the questions and get the answers.
Q: New half-backs? What does it mean for Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb?
WP: We know what Dan can and can’t do. He played pretty well against England. The Georgian game and this game was always going to be one where we continued this trend of giving guys opportunities and learning more about them.
If you look through to the World Cup in 2023, you’ve got to look at the guys who are potentially going to be there and we’d like them to have 20 or 30 Tests under their belt by the time they do that.
So at some stage, you’ve got to get them on the field.
We believe Callum went well against Georgia. This will be a step up from Georgia so we’ll get some more answers.
Q: Is this your strongest side?
WP: Well we’ve got a number of players unavailable through injury so factor that in, it’s probably not the strongest side possible when everyone is fit and available. But when is everyone fit and available?
Sometimes you’ve got a great squad on paper but you don’t get them fit and available - and those are the key words - at the same time.
It’s putting out a side that we’re excited to see go out. There are guys like Sam Parry getting their first start. He’s excited and I think these boys will equip themselves very well.
We’re continuing the theme from the start of the competition. We’re learning a lot about the players.
When it comes to naming the Six Nations squad, we’ll be in a better position to put out as strong a squad as possible.
Q: Any injured players missing out this week?
WP: I haven’t got it in front of me, but you’ll know the guys who were unavailable for selection originally and then everyone came through the England game were pretty much unscathed. So they were all available.
Q: What about Josh Navidi? How concerning is it he hasn't played?
WP: It’s one that’s very disappointing, mainly for Josh.
He’s very disappointed because he’s come through and has been able to train in the last few weeks. It’s just really been in the latter part of the week, with the accumulation of training where he hasn’t quite felt himself.
So we haven’t risked taking him to that last stage of full contact.
He’ll go back to club rugby and hopefully get cleared to play in the next week or two. He’s disappointed and we’re disappointed we haven’t seen him.
Q: Last game of the year, is it important to win?
WP: It’s very important. We’ve talked about that today and that’s what we want to do. It’s time for us to keep improving in defence and nail the opportunities that come our way in attack.
We know we haven’t done that yet. It’s was a big focus for today and will be again tomorrow.
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Q: Is this side most suited selection to how you want to play?
WP: I think there’s a bit of a hint there. But look at the players that are unavailable like Moriarty, Navidi and Ken Owens amongst others.
We’ve learnt a lot from this campaign and with guys coming back from injury for the Six Nations, we can put out a pretty strong side.
We’ve taken a little bit of pain early on and we’re slowly improving. From our point internally in the camp, there’s plenty of vim and vigour about the place and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we have a very good outing on the weekend.
Q: James Botham back to blindside. Is that his long-term position?
WP: He’s one that, as his age, has the ability of playing in all three positions. It’s like having Navidi there alongside Justin.
They’re potentially very similar players. They’re both good over the ball, can run well with it, have high work-rates.
He’s a young one who is getting opportunities, like Shane Lewis-Hughes, and has a big future in the game.
Q: How are you working on the set-piece ahead of the weekend?
WP: We’re speaking to the referees and we’ll have a meeting with Wayne Barnes and get his view of the world.
But we certainly won’t panic as I thought it was a very good performance against Georgia. If you look at those penalties against England, we would argue some could have gone the other way.
On another day, we’d come away from that game thinking we weren’t so bad. So we’ll keep doing what we’re doing, which is trying to paint good pictures to the referees and get a good set-piece that gets the ball away to play.
It hasn’t happened a lot as we haven’t been able to attack from scrums. It’s frustrating but we don’t think we’ve always had the rub of the green. It’s something we’ve got to keep working at and keep presenting the best picture as possible.
Q: Is it difficult bringing through an attacking game when the trend in rugby seems to point towards defence?
WP: I think there might be a rule change before 2023 and we’ll be ahead of the pack. I’ve got no idea on what I’d do but we put ideas forward to the guys who make the call.
I think everyone would agree it’s not the prettiest rugby we’re seeing. We’d certainly like to use the ball more. For us, it’s not just around the kicking side of the game.
It’s about controlling what we do with the ball when we have it. We haven’t been that clinical. We can improve in that area.
At the moment, the way the game is being played is very defence-orientated and there’s no encouragement not to do what teams are doing and get results from it. I think sooner or later pressure will come on to look at changes so teams are encouraged to attack a bit more.
Q: Just to clarify, is this the strongest available team you could currently name?
WP: We’ve looked at it from the point of view of giving opportunities to the squad and answering some questions.
We could have selected it a different way but there are some strong combinations there and we’ve looked at the balance from one to 15 and then the bench to make sure we can get a result first and foremost. That was the first thing.
Could we have selected differently? Of course.
But we believe this side can get a result and what we want out of the competition.