March 8, 2017 / 12:35 PM / in 5 months

Tipuric set for 50th cap in unchanged Wales team

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FILE PHOTO - Rugby Union Britain - Wales v South Africa - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 26/11/16 Wales' Justin Tipuric breaks through the South African defence to score a try Reuters / Rebecca Naden

LONDON (Reuters) - Flanker Justin Tipuric is set to win his 50th cap for Wales after being named in an unchanged team for Friday's Six Nations game against Ireland in Cardiff.

Tipuric, with the number seven jersey, will line up alongside Sam Warburton and Ross Moriarty in the back-row as Wales seek to put two successive defeats behind them.

"We felt it was important the same group of players had the opportunity to go out and perform on Friday so we have named an unchanged match-day squad," head coach Rob Howley said on Wednesday.

"Friday night is an opportunity for us. There is a lot of experience in our group and you don't become a bad team overnight. We want to show what we can do and that experience will be very important this week."

Wales lost 21-16 at home to England on Feb. 11 and 29-13 to Scotland at Murrayfield on Feb. 25.

They need to win one of their remaining two Six Nations matches to stay in the top eight of the World Rugby rankings and avoid falling into the third pot for the 2019 Rugby World Cup draw on May 10.

Wales were ranked ninth when the draw was made before the last World Cup, in England in 2015, and ended up with the hosts and Australia in their pool, finishing in second place before losing to South Africa in the quarter-finals.

"We know we need to be more clinical and we need to execute better under pressure and we have been working hard on that during the last few weeks," said Howley.

"Ireland are one of the in-form sides in world rugby and are coached very well and packed with experience and there are a number of interesting match-ups across both teams."

Wales team: 15-Leigh Halfpenny; 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Scott Williams, 11-Liam Williams; 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Rhys Webb; 1-Rob Evans, 2-Ken Owens, 3-Tomas Francis, 4-Jake Ball, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 6-Sam Warburton, 7-Justin Tipuric, 8-Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: 16-Scott Baldwin, 17-Nicky Smith, 18-Samson Lee, 19-Luke Charteris, 20-Taulupe Faletau, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Sam Davies, 23-Jamie Roberts.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris

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