Gatland rings changes for his last match as Wales coach
TOKYO (AP) — Warren Gatland’s last selection as Wales coach has been impacted by injury, with Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Aaron Wainwright and Tomas Francis all out of the bronze-medal match against New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup.
Alun Wyn Jones will again start as captain for Friday’s match in Tokyo, but Gatland has made nine changes to the team that started the 19-16 loss to South Africa in the semifinals on Sunday.
With just a five-day turnaround, forwards Jake Ball and Aaron Shingler and backs Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar and Hadleigh Parkes were handed a rest and drop to the bench.
Francis (shoulder), North and Wainwright (hamstrings), and Halfpenny (concussion) were all ruled out.
Gatland is leaving after 12 years in charge of the Welsh team and returning to his native New Zealand to take over at the Hamilton-based Chiefs in Super Rugby.