Wales and Samoa reshuffle line-ups for clash
Six Nations champions Wales have reacted to their home defeat to Argentina by dropping captain Sam Warburton to the bench among wholesale changes to their team to face Samoa on Friday.
The flanker, who led Wales to the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup and the Six Nations grand slam earlier this year, is replaced by Justin Tipuric - one of eight changes to the side that started the 26-12 loss to the Pumas at the Millennium Stadium.
Interim coach Rob Howley said the side needed freshening up after they suffered their fourth successive defeat.
"With a short, six-day turnaround it was important for us to freshen things up and also make use of the competition for places we have within this squad, something which has been a key ingredient for the success of the squad over the last 18 months," Howley said in a statement.
Former skipper Ryan Jones will take over the armband for a record 29th time, surpassing Ieuan Evans.
Jones comes in for the injured Josh Turnbull at blindside and lock Bradley Davies replaces Alun Wyn Jones. Turnbull, who suffered medial ligament damage to his knee, and Wyn Jones (shoulder) will take no further part in the November internationals.
In other changes to the pack, hooker Richard Hibbard starts in the front row in place of Matthew Rees, and Paul James comes in at prop for Gethin Jenkins.
In the backs, scrumhalf Mike Phillips starts with Tavis Knoyle dropped to the bench, Dan Biggar takes the flyhalf jersey from Rhys Priestland and Ashley Beck is in for Scott Williams at centre.
"We know we are under pressure to perform and that pressure is greatest from within," added Howley.
"This squad has shown in the past that we have the character and resilience to get back to winning ways. We have every confidence that we will come back strongly on Friday night."
Samoa has rejigged its back division as part of six changes to its starting lineup.
David Lemi will return as captain on the left wing at Millennium Stadium in place of Robert Lilomaiava, who scored four tries in the 42-12 win over Canada on Friday.
Halfback Kahn Fotuali'i, centre Paul Williams and fullback Faatoina Autagavaia also come in as Samoa looks to avenge the 17-10 loss to Wales in last year's World Cup and claim another victory in Cardiff, after wins in 1991 and '99.
Lock Daniel Leo and flanker Maurie Fa'asavalu are the other changes to the run-on lineup.
Samoa: Faatoina Autagavaia, Paul Perez, George Pisi, Paul Williams, David Lemi, Tusi Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i; Taiasina Tuifua, Maurie Fa'asavalu, Ofisa Treviranus, Filo Paulo, Daniel Leo, Census Johnston, Ole Avei, Sakaria Taulafo. Reserves: Tii Paulo, Viliamu Afatia, James Johnston, Tivaini Fomai, Jeremy Su'a, Jonny Leota, Robert Lilomaiava.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Ashley Beck, Jamie Roberts, George North, Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips, Toby Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Ryan Jones, Ian Evans, Bradley Davies,Aaron Jarvis, Richard Hibbard, Paul James. Reserves: Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins, Scott Andrews, Luke Charteris, Sam Warburton, Tavis Knoyle, Rhys Priestland, Scott Williams.
- Reuters and AP