Wales’ Johnny Williams out of Nations Cup play-off against Italy

Llanelli, United Kingdom, Dec 5 (AFP/APP): Wales centre Johnny Williams was ruled out of their Autumn Nations Cup fifth-place play-off against Italy shortly before kick-off in Llanelli on Saturday with a calf injury.

Williams’ place in midfield has now been taken by experienced international Jonathan Davies, his Scarlets team-mate. Wales, last year’s Six Nations Grand Slam winners, have won just two of their nine Tests since head coach Wayne Pivac succeeded his fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup, beating only Italy and Georgia.

Pivac had already made nine changes for this match following last week’s 24-13 loss at home to England, with George North, half-backs Kieran Hardy and Callum Sheedy and fit-again flanker Justin Tipuric among those recalled to the side. Italy’s Welsh-born scrum-half Stephen Varney, qualified through his grandparents, was making his first Test start for the Azzurri.

Revised Wales team (15-1) Liam Williams; Josh Adams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Louis Rees-Zammit; Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, James Botham; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Will Rowlands; Tomas Francis, Sam Parry, Nicky Smith Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Aaron Wainwright, Gareth Davies, Ioan Lloyd, Jonah Holmes

Coach: Wayne Pivac (NZL)

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