shane williams walesShane Williams was the first name on the team sheet today – as promised by Wales head coach Warren Gatland – when the side was announced to take on Australia in the Dove Men Challenge match at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).

Williams is one of nine players retained in the starting line-up from the third-place Rugby World Cup play-off defeat to the Wallabies early last month, with just two starters selected from outside of the Wales 30-man squad which reached the semi-finals in New Zealand.

Ospreys second row Ian Evans returns to the starting line-up after a three year absence, having last featured under Gatland against New Zealand in November 2008, and Blues prop Scott Andrews – who was part of the preliminary RWC training squad – makes his first start.

Evans replaces Dragons lock Luke Charteris, originally named in the Wales squad for this match but now ruled out with a wrist injury. Andrews is in for Adam Jones who was ruled out with a calf problem last week.

Captain Sam Warburton (Blues) returns in the back row, replacing Osprey Ryan Jones, who moves to the bench, with Dragon Toby Faletau reverting to his normal position at No 8.

In the backs a groin problem has also ruled out Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies and he is replaced by his Regional colleague Scott Williams. Blues scrum half Lloyd Williams replaces the unavailable Mike Phillips but elsewhere the Wales coaches have been able to name the same back line which finished the World Cup so strongly.

On the bench Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees completes his return from the shoulder problem which ruled him out of the RWC squad at the last minute, Ospreys outside half Dan Biggar returns alongside his regional colleague, flanker Justin Tipuric, and uncapped Blues wing Alex Cuthbert is also named.

“It does not often happen in professional sport that a player gets the opportunity to call time on his international career then play one last match like this one in front of his home fans and the people he has given so much joy and entertainment to,” said Gatland.

“Saturday is a great opportunity for the fans to show Shane what he has meant to them and we all hope to send him off on the right note.

“But as we remember the highs and lows of New Zealand and the World Cup the focus must now be to build for the next four years, the immediate future of the 6 Nations next year and towards the 2015 World Cup, with players like Scott Andrews, Ian Evans and Lloyd Williams with an immediate opportunity to impress and also the likes of Justin Tipuric, Dan Biggar and Alex Cuthbert with a chance from the bench.”

Wales Starting XV:
15. Leigh Halfpenny;
14. George North,
13. Scott Williams,
12. Jamie Roberts,
11. Shane Williams,
10. Rhys Priestland,
9. Lloyd Williams;
1. Gethin Jenkins,
2. Huw Bennett,
3. Scott Andrews,
4. Bradley Davies,
5. Ian Evans,
6. Dan Lydiate,
7. Sam Warburton (C),
8. Toby Faletau

16. Matthew Rees,
17. Ryan Bevington,
18. Ryan Jones,
19. Justin Tipuric,
20. Tavis Knoyle,
21. Dan Biggar,
22. Alex Cuthbert