North to bulk up Welsh midfield

George North will start at outside centre for Wales against Australia at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

With centres Scott Williams and Jonathan Davies ruled out with injuries, coach Warren Gatland has opted for the hard-running winger to partner Jamie Roberts in the Welsh midfield.

North boasts a good record against the Wallabies, where he has scored five tries in nine matches including a brace in last year's narrow defeat at the same venue.

Gatland will be pleased to welcome back four players that missed the June Tests against the Springboks. Captain Sam Warburton, fullback Leigh Halfpenny, scrumhalf Rhys Webb and hooker Richard Hibbard all return from injury to take their place in the starting XV.

Wales' last eight matches against the Wallabies have ended in defeat, but head coach Gatland is hopeful they can end that run this weekend.

'We have spoken a lot about this autumn and the year ahead and we are really excited to kick off the campaign this weekend,' said Gatland.

'The last few outings against Australia have been extremely tight, we are expecting the same this weekend and it's going to be another huge battle but it's a challenge we are really looking forward to.'

Wales – 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Subs: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Cory Allen.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images