"Gatland's Bolters" - The 3 Uncapped Wales Players to Debut Against England at Twickenham - Ruck

“Gatland’s Bolters” – The 3 Uncapped Wales Players to Debut Against England at Twickenham

Warren Gatland has named a re-shuffled Wales side to take on England this Saturday at Twickenham, with three newcomers ready for their test match debuts. The Wales Head Coach has named 20 changes from the side that beat England 20-9 in Cardiff, with this trio of debutants amongst the group.

The Scarlets duo of Joe Roberts and Kemsley Mathias are called up, along with Ospreys centre Kieran Williams. They will be under the guidance of new Wales captain Dewi Lake, with the hooker awarded the armband in the absence of back-rower Jac Morgan.

Just three players return from the side that beat England, in their opening match of the 2023 Summer Nations Series. New Zealand born loose forward Taine Plumtree gets his first test start, as he is boosted up from the bench. Exeter Chiefs flanker Christ Tshiunza goes the opposite way and is dropped to the replacements, where he lines up along with veteran halfback Dan Biggar.

So, ahead of this Saturday’s hotly anticipated re-match at Twickenham, here is everything you need to know about the three uncapped Welsh players, who are ready for their test match debuts.

1. Joe Roberts – Scarlets

The only debutant to be named in Gatland’s starting line-up this weekend, Joe Roberts is nailed on to make his test match debut at outside centre, in the stadium that England fans call ‘HQ’. Roberts will be taking over the mantle from George North, in what is a seismic step up for the 23-year-old, given North’s impressive try-scoring performance last weekend.

Roberts will partner-up in the midfield alongside Saracens centre Nick Tompkins, with the 27-cap playmaker set to guide the young Scarlet through the ropes. North took the debuting Max Llewellyn under his wing in the first test against England, with Roberts set to learn what it takes to run the show at Twickenham, from the 2023 Premiership Rugby Champion.

Roberts’ Scarlets breakthrough came with three sporadic appearances in the 2020/21 Rainbow Cup. He then pushed on to establish his presence amongst the senior squad, and made 13 appearances across the 2022/23 United Rugby Championship and EPCR Challenge Cup. Roberts started 12 of these matches, and even grabbed himself a senior try against eventual URC Champions Munster back in March. A hard-hitting, ball-playing centre with a tricky step and strong fend, Roberts is ready to make good on his test debut opportunity, and cause the England back-line some serious problems.