In the electrifying world of rugby, where the oval ball reigns supreme, and tackles are as common as halftime oranges, a new chapter unfolds in the Rugby World Cup 2023. This time, it’s the resilient and dynamic Dewi Lake who will don the captain’s armband for Wales as they face off against Portugal. The stage is set at the Stade de Nice, promising an epic clash on Saturday, 16th September, with the kick-off scheduled for 16:45 BST. Grab your favorite snacks, tune in to your radio or favorite sports app, and let’s dive into the rugby excitement.
Wales, under the stewardship of the legendary Warren Gatland, is shaking things up with not just a few tweaks but a whopping 13 changes to the squad that triumphed over Fiji in their opening World Cup match. Only two warriors, Taulupe Faletau and Louis Rees-Zammit, remain in the starting lineup, showcasing Gatland’s audacious approach to the game.
Gareth Anscombe, who hasn’t graced the Welsh jersey since November 2022 due to a serious shoulder injury, makes his long-awaited return as the fly-half. It’s a triumphant comeback story, reminiscent of a phoenix rising from the ashes. Anscombe’s return adds another layer of excitement and experience to the Welsh side.
In the engine room, Exeter locks Dafydd Jenkins and Christ Tshiunza get their chance to shine. It’s a testament to the depth of Welsh rugby that young talents like Jenkins and Tshiunza can step into such a prestigious tournament and make their mark. The scrum-half maestro, Tomos Williams, is set to celebrate his 50th cap, a milestone that reflects his consistent excellence on the pitch.
Gatland, in his characteristically calm and composed manner, explained the rationale behind these changes, citing the six-day turnaround as a primary factor. He emphasized the healthy competition within the squad, which is nothing short of a coach’s dream.
Mason Grady and Johnny Williams join Lake and Tshiunza in making their World Cup debuts in the center. It’s a defining moment in their careers, an opportunity to etch their names in the annals of rugby history. On the other hand, seasoned campaigners like Dan Lydiate and Leigh Halfpenny bring their invaluable experience to the squad, having graced the World Cup stage twice before.
Speaking of records, Leigh Halfpenny is on the cusp of history himself, becoming the oldest back to represent Wales in a World Cup game. At 34 years, eight months, and 26 days, he surpasses the legendary Shane Williams. It’s a testament to Halfpenny’s dedication and longevity in the sport.
The story of Dewi Lake is equally inspiring. Co-captain for the tournament alongside Jac Morgan, Lake faced a challenging journey to this moment. A knee injury kept him out of action for the Fiji match, but his resilience and leadership qualities shine through as he takes the reins against Portugal.
But let’s not forget the youthful infusion into the squad. Dafydd Jenkins, at just 20 years old, is the youngest member, making his first World Cup start. And Tshiunza, at 21, shifts from flanker to lock, demonstrating his adaptability and skill set.
As the Welsh squad readies itself for this clash against Portugal, Gatland acknowledges the need for improvement. There’s a clear game plan in place, and execution is key. Portugal, with their own unique brand of skill and enthusiasm, will be eager to make their mark in their first match of the tournament.
For the fans, the excitement is palpable. It’s time to rally behind your team, whether you’re in the stands or watching from the comfort of your home. Welsh rugby is known for its passionate supporters, and their presence will undoubtedly be felt in Nice.
So, as the curtain rises on this new chapter of Welsh rugby, let’s raise our voices and support Dewi Lake and his squad as they embark on their Rugby World Cup 2023 journey. The drama, the passion, and the tackles await. It’s time to let the games begin!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rugby World Cup 2023 Wales Portugal Match
Question: Who is captaining the Wales rugby team in the Rugby World Cup 2023 match against Portugal?
Answer: Dewi Lake is captaining the Wales rugby team in the Rugby World Cup 2023 match against Portugal. He has been named as the captain for this particular game, taking on the leadership role for the squad.
Question: How many changes has Warren Gatland made to the Wales squad for the match against Portugal?
Question: Who is making their first World Cup appearances for Wales in this match?
Answer: In this Rugby World Cup 2023 match against Portugal, both Mason Grady and Johnny Williams are making their first World Cup appearances for Wales. They join Dewi Lake and Christ Tshiunza in stepping onto the grand stage of the World Cup for the first time.
Question: Who is the oldest back to play a World Cup game for Wales, and what record has he broken?
Answer: Leigh Halfpenny is the oldest back to play a World Cup game for Wales. At the age of 34 years, eight months, and 26 days, he has surpassed the previous record held by Shane Williams, who was 34 years, seven months, and 26 days old when he played against Australia in Auckland in 2011. This achievement marks Halfpenny’s longevity and excellence in the sport.
Question: What is the significance of Gareth Anscombe’s return to the Wales squad for this match?
Answer: Gareth Anscombe’s return to the Wales squad for this match holds immense significance. He hasn’t played for Wales since suffering a serious shoulder injury in November 2022. His comeback after a prolonged absence adds experience and skill to the squad, especially in the crucial fly-half position. It’s a triumphant return for Anscombe, who missed the 2019 World Cup due to a knee injury, making this his first World Cup match since the 2015 quarter-final.
More about Rugby World Cup 2023 Wales Portugal Match
- BBC Sport – Rugby World Cup 2023: Dewi Lake captains much-changed Wales side against Portugal
- Rugby World Cup 2023 – Official Website
- Warren Gatland – Wikipedia
- Gareth Anscombe – Profile
- Leigh Halfpenny – Official Website
- Shane Williams – Wikipedia
- Rugby World Cup Records – World Rugby
- Welsh Rugby Union – Official Website