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Vernon Cooper To Make International Debut

Vernon Cooper To Make International Debut

Vernon Cooper will become the 10th new cap to be blooded by Steve Hansen when he makes his Wales debut in the BT Autumn International Series match against Canada at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 4.30 pm)

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The 25-year-old Llanelli lock will become the 166th Scarlets’ player capped by Wales when he runs out in a side showing three changes from the one which started the 58-14 victory over Fiji last Saturday.

Jamie Robinson, a 10th minute replacement for the injured Tom Shanklin, retains his place at centre alongside Sonny Parker, while Llanelli’s British Lions hooker Robin McBryde takes over from Mefin Davies.

**Click here to buy tickets for the BT Autumn International Series

The Wales coach first began to blood new players on last summer’s tour to South Africa, when Pontypridd’s Michael Owen became the 1,000th Welsh international in the first Test in Bloemfontein.

Cooper will become the 1,009th player to wear the Welsh jersey when he follows in the footsteps of Hansen’s other new recruits, Richard Parks, Rob Sidoli, Martyn Madden, Ryan Powell, Mefin Davies, Gethin Jenkins, Sonny Parker and Dafydd Jones.

**Click here for Wales player profiles

Ben Evans and Martyn Williams are the only survivors from the starting line-up for the last game against Canada. That was only the second game at the Millennium Stadium, on 21 August, 1999, when 47,000 fans turned up to see Wales post a seventh successive victory.

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The Canadians have five survivors from that game – Winston Stanley, Morgan Williams, Rod Snow, John Tait and Mike James – which Wales won 33-19. Wales have played Canada 10 times dating back to a fixture between Wales Under 23 and the original Canadian tourists in 1962.

Among Wales’ nine victories in those matches is a 40-9 World Cup triumph in New Zealand in 1987. The solitary Canadian victory, 26-24, came at Cardiff Arms Park in front of 22,000 fans in 1993.

The two countries will meet again in the Rugby World Cup in Australia next year following Canada’s qualification as the champions of the Americas group.

Another victory for Wales would make it three wins in a row for Steve Hansen’s men – the first time that will have happened since Wales won five in a row in 2001 (France, Italy, Japan 1, Japan 2, Romania).

Related stories:

Wales team announcement

Canada announce squad

‘I can’t wait for the Test’ – Tait

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