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Dan Lydiate encourages young forwards to embrace Georgia 'baptism of fire'

Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

Dan Lydiate believes there will be "no better baptism of fire" than the one that awaits an inexperienced Wales pack tomorrow.

Lydiate, 29, captains a Wales team that sees the Ospreys flanker's 60-cap Test haul being almost twice the combined figure of his seven fellow forwards.

Prop Leon Brown, lock Adam Beard and flanker Sam Cross all make their first international starts, while Cardiff Blues second-row forward Seb Davies lines up at number eight for Georgia's Principality Stadium visit.

And with Georgia being renowned for their rugged, uncompromising approach up-front, Lydiate sees it as an ideal examination.

They (Georgia) will be rubbing their hands together. But to be fair, our boys will be doing the same. There will be nerves, but there is no better baptism of fire.

Time just flies, and now we have a load of youngsters coming through. In rugby, there will always be different stages of development, and at the moment I am at the back end of it and new boys are coming in.

I am excited to be here and captaining such a young bunch. As a pack, if we do well against a big, heavy Georgian eight, it will only stand us in good stead in the future.

– Dan Lydiate, Wales Captain

George North out of Autumn series with knee injury

Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

George North is set to miss Wales' entire autumn series after sustaining a knee injury in Northampton's Champions Cup defeat by Saracens on Sunday.

North has been ruled out for a minimum of six weeks, preventing him from featuring in the fixtures against Australia, Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa that begin at the Principality Stadium on November 11.

George North suffered a sprain to his posterior cruciate ligament against Saracens which will require 6-8 weeks rehabilitation.

– Northampton statement


Lions: Leigh Halfpenny called into squad for Hurricanes clash

Leigh Halfpenny Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has been called into the British and Irish Lions squad for the tour match with the Hurricanes and will be on the bench.

Irishman Jared Payne has complained of headaches, and been stood down as a precaution.

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Lions squad perform Welsh hymn in wonderful cultural exchange on arrival in New Zealand

The British and Irish Lions rugby squad have performed a rendition of the Welsh hymn Calon Lan as they touched down in New Zealand.

Credit: British and Irish Lions

They were greeted by a Maori group who performed a traditional welcome ceremony for the squad.

In response, players and coaches belted out the hymn and firm rugby favourite.

Wales Full Back Leigh Halfpenny also tweeted what appears to be a rehearsal on board the flight:

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The squad includes 16 Englishmen, 11 Irishmen, 12 Welshmen and two Scots.

Their first game of the tour is on 3 June.


Rob Howley sees 'X-Factor' and versatility in Liam Williams

Wales boss Rob Howley has described Liam Williams as "probably a left-wing who can play full-back" after making another switch of positions with Toulon star Leigh Halfpenny.

Credit: Paul Harding/PA Wire

Many pundits view full-back as the best role for Williams, who looks set to join English and European champions Saracens next season and is rated as a British and Irish Lions certainty in New Zealand next summer.

He started in the number 15 shirt when Wales claimed a tense 33-30 victory over Japan last weekend, with Halfpenny on the wing, but those roles have been reversed for South Africa's Principality Stadium visit on Saturday.

Liam was very disappointed with his performance (against Japan). I spoke to him about being a connection in the back field. Liam is a very intuitive player, there is an X-factor about Liam and he has that ability to add value in the wider channels.

But Leigh is equally important. The way we defend, Leigh Halfpenny does a lot of work on and off the ball. For me, at the moment, that is the best back-three (George North is the other wing). Liam is probably a left-wing who can play full-back, where I think Leigh can play both.

– Rob Howley, Wales Interim Head Coach

Ospreys wing Keelan Giles is a 'huge talent'- Leigh Halfpenny

Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

Keelan Giles has been described as "a huge talent" ahead of his possible Wales debut against Japan.

The Ospreys wing will emulate peers like George North and Tom Prydie by making his Wales bow as an 18-year-old if he features at the Principality Stadium next Saturday.

Giles, who has scored eight tries in just five games for the Ospreys this season, was recently promoted to Wales' autumn Test squad.

And the smart money is on him being involved in the match-day 23 when Japan faces Wales for a first time in Cardiff since 2007.

Keelan is doing well. He has put in some fantastic performances for the Ospreys. He is a huge talent.

I remember seeing him play one Sunday morning at mini rugby level - under-eights or under-nines, I think - and you could see there was something there.

From my experience (Test debut), I remember the guys in the squad just made it so easy for me to come in and feel comfortable.

– Leigh Halfpenny, Wales International
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