Justin Tipuric will captain Wales in Wayne Pivac's first game at the helm as the Rugby World Cup semi-finalists take on the Barbarians, led by their former coach Warren Gatland.

After 12 years in charge of Wales, New Zealander Gatland brought an end to his tenure following their campaign in Japan, which concluded with a 19-16 defeat to eventual champions South Africa in the last four.

Former Scarlets coach Pivac has replaced his compatriot and his first game in charge comes on Saturday against a Barbarians side coached by Gatland.

Tipuric – one of eight players in the team to have featured at the World Cup – has been named skipper and will start in the back row, while Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl, who has qualified to represent Wales on the three-year residency rule, has been handed a debut.

It will be Wales' first meeting with the Barbarians since 2012, and Pivac is relishing the contest at the Principality Stadium.

"This week has been hugely exciting and hugely important for us as a group," said Pivac. "It has been an opportunity for us as a new squad and management to get together and to set the scene for what the future holds.

"This weekend itself is really exciting. The Barbarians are what rugby is all about. It is the fun element of the game and supporters should be looking forward to some good old-fashioned running rugby and it should be an entertaining afternoon."

Gatland, meanwhile, has named former Ireland captain Rory Best as the Barbarians' skipper. It will be the 37-year-old's final international match.

 

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl, Owen Watkin, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Seb Davies, Ollie Griffiths, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Owen Lane​.

Wales coach Warren Gatland and captain Justin Tipuric bemoaned a host of wasteful moments before their side closed out an uneven 35-13 Rugby World Cup victory over Uruguay.

The Six Nations Grand Slam-winners booked a quarter-final showdown against France with four wins out of four in Pool D, but they were made to work by an industrious Uruguay side.

Following a tournament-opening win over Fiji, the South Americans were able to sniff an even bigger shock when they went in only 7-6 behind at the interval.

But Josh Adams' fifth try of the World Cup and efforts from Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies alongside a penalty try and Nicky Smith's first-half score amounted to a comfortable margin of victory in the end.

"I'm happy with four from four but not too happy with some of tonight," Gatland said.

"We were poor at times, not clinical, too many turnovers in that first half and probably blew about four or five chances.

"But the boys showed a little bit of character and in the second half we started being a bit more direct. We were probably trying to play a bit too much rugby

"They're a tough outfit, they're tenacious, make the tackles and they're a tidy little side.

"We probably didn't respect the ball enough, a lot of turnovers and then second half we were more direct and earned the right to play. We were a bit better."

In Tipuric's assessment, Wales were even more profligate.

"We know we've got to do a lot better than that but we came away with a bonus-point win," he said.

"Uruguay didn't stop from the beginning to the end. They're a tough bunch of boys. We know that we probably left five or six tries out there as well."

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny landed four conversions and was named man of the match.

"We just got a bit loose at times, didn't keep hold of the ball. But once we kept the ball, we put them under pressure and eventually converted that pressure into points," Halfpenny said.

"At half-time the message was, 'Let's look after the ball, let's not panic'. We felt in control, we were just spilling the ball."

Warren Gatland says Rugby World Cup quarter-final places will be up for grabs when Wales face Uruguay in their final Pool D match on Sunday.

Gatland has made 13 changes for the encounter at Kumamoto Stadium, where the Six Nations champions should seal a victory that would ensure they finish top and face France in the last eight a week on Sunday.

Dan Biggar will not feature in a team captained by Justin Tipuric as the fly-half is undergoing the return-to-play head injury assessment, while Jonathan Davies (knee) and George North (ankle) will also play no part.

Gatland is optimistic the trio will be fit to return in the last eight, but with Josh Adam and Hadleigh Parkes the only players who faced Fiji to retain their spots, Gatland says opportunity knocks this weekend. 

The Wales head coach said: "Dan is symptom-free. He is being closely monitored by the medical team. He was symptom-free the next day, which was great.

"The medics have spoken to a number of people, doing consultations. He said he feels really good in himself, and he has come through symptom-free. He is just going through the HIA protocols at the moment.

"Jonathan took a knock on the knee. He's being monitored as well. The knee was pretty good the next day. It had a bit of swelling and he's been icing it regularly.

"He gets a little bit more time, and hopefully that keeps improving over the next few days.

"It's a bit of a juggling act with the four-day turnaround. The message to the players against Uruguay is that the door is not shut.

"There are opportunities for players to go out there and impress and stake a claim for a quarter-final spot."

Uruguay coach Esteban Meneses has changed his entire back row, while Juan Manuel Gaminara returns to captain the side and Agustin Ormaechea starts at scrum-half.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wales - Josh Adams

Adams scored a hat-trick in the 29-17 defeat of Fiji on Wednesday and Uruguay could find it difficult contain the wing, who also crossed in an emphatic victory over Georgia.

Uruguay - Juan Manuel Gaminara

Gaminara and Andres Vilaseca will make a Uruguay-record eighth World Cup appearance. Bottom side Uruguay will need flanker Gaminara to lead by example in the heat of battle with a strong Welsh pack.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be just the second meeting between Wales and Uruguay, their previous clash coming at the 2015 Rugby World Cup with Wales winning 54-9 in Cardiff. 

- Wales have won all three of their games so far at this Rugby World Cup. Not since 1987 have they won all their matches in the pool stage of the tournament.

- Uruguay have lost all eight World Cup matches against tier one opposition, those defeats coming by an average margin of 54 points.

- Uruguay need two tries and 10 points to beat their previous best World Cup totals. 

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