Wales' flanker Justin Tipuric will captain his country in their November Tests with Dan Biggar unavailable through injury
London (AFP) - Justin Tipuric will captain Wales in their November international campaign, it was announced Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Ospreys flanker, capped 85 times by Wales, replaces the injured Dan Biggar as skipper.
Tipuric missed the whole of last season after suffering a shoulder injury during the British and Irish Lions’ warm-up Test against Japan in June 2021 ahead of the combined side’s tour of South Africa.
Tipuric previously captained Wales against Uruguay during the 2019 World Cup in Japan and also led them against Georgia a year later.
“I’m obviously honoured,” Tipuric, who last played for Wales against France in the 2021 Six Nations, told a news conference.
“I didn’t quite expect it to be honest. I’m just happy to be back in the squad.
“To have the responsibility to leading such a great bunch of boys out on the field is one of the highlights of my career.”
Wales begin their autumn programme in Cardiff against New Zealand on November 5 as they look to end a run of 32 straight defeats in the fixture since their last win over the All Blacks back in 1953
They also face Argentina, Georgia and Australia next month.
Wales coach Wayne Pivac, by appointing Tipuric as captain, has decided against turning back to previous skipper Alun Wyn Jones.
The veteran lock succeeded Sam Warburton as Wales captain in 2017 following the openside flanker’s retirement.
But following Jones’ shoulder injury last year, the captaincy passed to fly-half Biggar.
Tipuric will take charge of a depleted Wales squad, with Dewi Lake the latest player to be ruled out of the November campaign
The Ospreys hooker suffered a shoulder injury during his team’s United Rugby Championship defeat against the Dragons on Sunday.
Lake has been replaced in the 35-man squad by Dragons’ former Ulster forward Bradley Roberts in what promises to be a test of Wales’ squad depth ahead of next year’s World Cup in France.
Lake joins a lengthy injury list that includes Biggar, Liam Williams, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Seb Davies, Johnny Williams, Josh Navidi and Taine Basham.
Wales also have doubts over the fitness of several players ahead of the All Blacks’ match with backs George North (knee), Leigh Halfpenny (hamstring), Josh Adams (hand), Alex Cuthbert (shoulder) and Gareth Anscombe (ribs) all trying to regain full fitness.