TOULON, France (Reuters) - Wales' influential flyhalf Dan Biggar will start this weekend's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina in Marseille with Tommy Reffell named on Thursday in place of the injured Taulupe Faleatu.
Biggar plays for the first time since hurting a pectoral muscle in the 40-6 thrashing of Australia on Sept. 24 and his inclusion is a major boost for Welsh hopes of reaching a third semi-final in the last four editions of the World Cup.
Along with Biggar, Wales also named experienced fullback Liam Williams for Saturday's match despite him being taken off with a knee injury in their final pool match last weekend, a 43-19 win over Georgia in Nantes.
Williams was later seen using crutches but coaching staff this week said it was a precautionary measure to take weight off his leg.
Faleatu broke his arm last weekend and is out of the tournament, which means Reffell will come into the loose forward trio with Aaron Wainwright switching to No. 8 and captain Jac Morgan moving onto blindside.
Adam Beard returned home last week for the birth of his third child but is back in the second row in place of Dafydd Jenkins.
Gareth Anscombe was not named among the replacements as had been expected. He was earlier this week said to be on the mend after pulling out of the Georgia game just minutes before the start having hurt himself in pre-match kicking practice.
Instead, Sam Costelow provides cover for Biggar off the bench.
“We had a goal of making the quarter-finals which we have achieved. Now it’s about building on that momentum," said coach Warren Gatland in a statement naming the team.
“It’s exciting to enter into the knockout stages of the tournament and we are ready for the challenge of a quarter-final. All our preparation has been geared to getting to this spot and we’re very much relishing the opportunity.
“We’re expecting another tough encounter this weekend against a physical Argentina side. We haven't had the perfect performance yet, but we have shown that we are a hard team to beat.
“There is a lot more growth in this squad - collectively and individually - and we can’t wait to get out there in Marseille on Saturday.”
15-Liam Williams, 14-Louis Rees-Zammit, 13-George North, 12-Nick Tompkins, 11-Josh Adams, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Gareth Davies, 8-Aaron Wainwright, 7-Tommy Reffell, 6-Jac Morgan (captain), 5-Adam Beard, 4-Will Rowlands, 3-Tomas Francis, 2-Ryan Elias, 1-Gareth Thomas
Replacements: 16-Dewi Lake, 17-Corey Domachowski, 18-Dillon Lewis, 19-Dafydd Jenkins, 20-Christ Tshiunza, 21-Tomos Williams, 22-Sam Costelow, 23-Rio Dyer
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Paris; Editing by Ken Ferris)