Cuthbert back in Wales rugby team after 4-year absence

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Alex Cuthbert will make his first appearance for Wales in four years as one of five changes for the rugby test against Fiji on Sunday.

The 31-year-old winger, who will win his 49th cap, last featured for Wales in a match against Georgia in November 2017. Joining English club Exeter the following year made him ineligible for his national team under a Welsh Rugby Union rule preventing players getting picked for the country if they played outside Wales and had fewer than 60 caps.

Cuthbert is now back in Welsh rugby with the Ospreys.

Flanker Thomas Young and scrumhalf Kieran Hardy are recalled, Liam Williams comes in at fullback for his first start of the autumn campaign, Josh Adams moves from wing to center where he is partnered in midfield by Johnny Williams. In another positional change, flanker Taine Basham switches to No. 8 to cover for the injured Aaron Wainwright.

“We want to be able to use our squad where we can,” said Wales coach Wayne Pivac, whose team lost 23-18 to South Africa on Saturday. “In terms of the forwards, we don’t have a lot of options with injuries and unavailability.

“The exciting one is Josh Adams getting an opportunity. That is really looking at the future. When you have to pick a World Cup squad of 33, you’ve got to have players that can play in more than one position and we have been wanting to do it for a while, so we will see how Josh goes in the midfield.”

On the bench is uncapped 19-year-old forward Christ Tshiunza, who plays in the second row or back row and moved to Wales from Congo in 2010. He is a product of the same school in Cardiff where some of Wales’ biggest sports stars — former rugby captain Sam Warburton, soccer player Gareth Bale and former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas — went.

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Wales team: Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Josh Adams, Johnny Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, Dan Biggar, Kieran Hardy; Taine Basham, Thomas Young, Ellis Jenkins (captain), Adam Beard, Will Rowlands, Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre. Reserves: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, WillGriff John, Christ Tshiunza, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins

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More AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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