George North will play at centre and Johnny McNicholl makes his Wales debut against Italy on Saturday but Josh Navidi will miss the start of the Six Nations due to injury.

North switches to partner Hadleigh Parkes for his fifth start in midfield at international level, with uncapped wing McNicholl coming in for the defending champions' first match of the tournament under head coach Wayne Pivac.

Flanker Navidi looks set to miss the majority of the competition after suffering a hamstring injury.

Fit-again back-row Taulupe Faletau returns for his first international appearance since March 2018, while uncapped centre Nick Tompkins could make his debut off the bench.

Tomos Williams and Dan Biggar made up the half-back pairing at the Principality Stadium, where Josh Adams and Leigh Halfpenny join McNicholl in the back three.

There is no place in the matchday squad for teen flyer Louis Rees-Zammit.

 

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Ross Moriarty, Rhys Webb, Jarrod Evans, Nick Tompkins.

Wales have drafted in Cardiff Blues winger Owen Lane as a squad replacement for back-rower Josh Navidi ahead of the Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

Powerhouse Navidi was ruled out after sustaining a hamstring injury in the edgy 20-19 last-eight triumph over France in Oita on Sunday.

With Wales well stocked in the back row, head coach Warren Gatland has opted to bolster his backs.

Centre Jonathan Davies was a late withdrawal against France due to a problematic knee injury, while Hadleigh Parkes has been playing through a broken bone in his hand and a shoulder complaint.

Lane has just one Wales cap to his name, that coming against Ireland in August.

Wales will be without Josh Navidi for the rest of their Rugby World Cup campaign after the back-rower sustained a hamstring injury in the quarter-final win over France.

Warren Gatland's side secured their place in the last four with a dramatic 20-19 victory over Les Bleus, who had Sebastien Vahaamahina sent off.

Navidi had overtaken Ross Moriarty as Wales' first-choice number eight in Japan but was forced off during the first half on Sunday.

Gatland - who plans to bring in a back, rather than another forward to replace the Cardiff Blues player - has confirmed Navidi's World Cup is over.

"He'll be ruled out. He's no good," Gatland, whose side will face South Africa in the last four, told a news conference on Monday.

"We'll be looking to bring in a replacement tomorrow [Tuesday], but we've got to go through that process.

"It's disappointing for him. We'll keep him out here. It will be nice for him to stay out for the next couple of weeks. 

"It's disappointing for us to have a player ruled out. In saying that, these games are so physical to have only lost one player is a real positive for us.

"We've been pretty lucky. We're trying to keep everyone as healthy as we possibly can."

Jonathan Davies missed the quarter-final due to a knee injury, but Gatland is hopeful the centre will be available for selection on Sunday.

"He was touch and go for the weekend. He's been doing rehab and recovery," Gatland said of Davies.

"Hopefully he'll be up and running for a very light session tomorrow. We'll be doing more of the rugby on Wednesday. Hopefully he's fit and available."

Gatland claimed "the best side lost" following Wales' victory over France, but the outgoing coach was satisfied with his side's resilience and strength of character. 

"We're a bit disappointed about the performance. France played exceptionally well," he added. "I thought we showed some great character and got the win.

"Disappointed with a few aspects but looking forward it's about being excited about the semi-final of a World Cup."

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