Wales team to face New Zealand in World Cup third-place play-off

Warren Gatland at Wales v South Africa World Cup semi final match Warren Gatland will leave his post as Wales head coach after the match (David Davies/PA)

Wales have lost four players through injury for their Rugby World Cup bronze medal match against New Zealand in Tokyo on Friday.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny (concussion), wing George North (hamstring), prop Tomas Francis (shoulder) and flanker Aaron Wainwright (hamstring) all miss out after starting the semi-final loss to South Africa three days ago.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made nine changes for his final match in charge before stepping down, including starts for Cardiff Blues wing Owen Lane, Ospreys prop Nicky Smith and Scarlets flanker James Davies.

Halfpenny had concussion issues last season, being sidelined for several weeks and missing a number of games for Wales and his regional team the Scarlets.

The Welsh Rugby Union, meanwhile, said Francis's shoulder injury would require ongoing assessment.

Lane starts just a week after flying to Japan as an injury replacement, with Hallam Amos taking over from Halfpenny in the number 15 shirt.

There is also an opportunity for centre Owen Watkin, with Hadleigh Parkes dropping to the replacements' bench after starting all of Wales's six previous games in the tournament.

Tomos Williams moves into the half-back partnership alongside Rhys Patchell, while a reshaped back row sees flanker Justin Tipuric moving from openside to blindside and Davies packing down alongside Tipuric and Ross Moriarty.

Wing Josh Adams makes a seventh successive start in the tournament and needs one try to break Shane Williams's Wales World Cup record of six touchdowns.

Gatland's reign ends after the All Blacks game, concuding a 12-year reign highlighted by Wales winning four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams and reaching two World Cup semi-finals.

Wales team to play New Zealand

Forwards: 1 Nicky Smith (Ospreys), 2 Ken Owens (Scarlets), 3 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), 4 Adam Beard (Ospreys), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (CAPTAIN, Ospreys), 6 Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), 7 James Davies (Scarlets), 8 Ross Moriarty (Dragons)

Backs: 9 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues), 10 Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), 11 Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues), 12 Owen Watkin (Ospreys), 13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), 14 Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues), 15 Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues)

Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee (Dragons), 17 Rhys Carre (Saracens), 18 Wyn Jones (Scarlets), 19 Jake Ball (Scarlets), 20 Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), 21 Gareth Davies (Scarlets), 22 Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), 23 Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets)

More Wales Autumn Internationals Rugby News >