TOKYO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Wales coach Warren Gatland has made nine changes to his side to play New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup third-place playoff match on Friday — his last game in charge after 12 years.
With Wales edged out by South Africa in the semi-finals, Gatland, who has four players unavailable through injury, has given some of the less-used squad members a start in the match.
Tomos Williams and Rhys Patchell form a new halfback partnership, while Owen Watkin features alongside Jonathan Davies in midfield.
Nicky Smith and Dillon Lewis come into the starting side in the front row to join Ken Owens, while Adam Beard returns to partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row. James Davies comes into the back-row alongside Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty.
Winger Josh Adams, the tournament’s leading try scorer with six, remains in the back three alongside Owen Lane, who comes in on the wing, and Hallam Amos at fullback.
Lane will be making his tournament debut after joining the squad last week to replace the injured Josh Navidi.
Tomas Francis, George North and Aaron Wainwright were unavailable through injury, as was Leigh Halfpenny due to concussion. Wales team: 15-Hallam Amos, 14-Owen Lane, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Owen Watkin, 11-Josh Adams, 10-Rhys Patchell, 9-Tomos Williams, 8-Ross Moriarty, 7-James Davies, 6-Justin Tipuric, 5-Alun Wyn Jones(captain), 4-Adam Beard, 3-Dillon Lewis, 2-Ken Owens, 1-Nicky Smith. Replacements: 16-Elliot Dee, 17-Rhys Carre, 18-Wyn Jones, 19-Jake Ball, 20-Aaron Shingler, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Dan Biggar, 23-Hadleigh Parkes.
Editing by Peter Rutherford