Wales v Tonga: Hooker Elliot Dee targets strong start

Elliot Dee
Elliot Dee has featured in every Wales match-day squad in 2018
Autumn international: Wales v Tonga
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 17 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales hooker Elliot Dee is hoping to put Ken Owens under pressure when he lines up against Tonga.

Dee, 24, looks set to be among a number of changes made by head coach Warren Gatland as Wales target a third successive victory of their autumn campaign.

Forwards coach Robin McBryde says World Cup places are up for grabs.

Everyone wants to be in that starting XV and wants to represent their country to the best that they can," said Dee.

The Tonga match is another opportunity for 11 times-capped Dee to show his rugby pedigree as Wales continue their countdown to next year's World Cup in Japan.

An established back-up to first choice hooker Owens, Dee is poised for a fourth start of his 12-cap international career.

Following victories over Scotland and Australia, Wales chase an eighth successive win against all opponents and also maintain an unbeaten autumn run ahead of tackling South Africa next weekend.

"Over the last year we've developed quite a bit of squad depth, and that is good for any team," he added.

"When there is somebody in your position who has been given the chance to play, and has played well, when you get the opportunity you want to do the same.

"Everyone wants to be in that starting XV and wants to represent their country to the best that they can.

"Last autumn was my first taste of it, and I was dying to get on and get that first cap. As soon as you hit one goal, you set more.

"I had a good season last year, personally, and everything happened quite quickly.

"I feel more comfortable in the squad now, I feel like I belong in the squad, and it's nice to be with the calibre of players that are here. It brings the best out of everybody."

Wales have won all eight of their previous games against Tonga, including a 24-6 success in Auckland last year, and they will host a team currently nine places below them in rugby union's world rankings.

"The games tend to be a bit looser, and they are big, powerful blokes who come right out of the blocks at you," Dee said.

"We know that the first 20 minutes is going to be tough, but we are prepping for that and want to get out and keep performing, rack up another win and move on from there.

"We want to move Tonga around, put in a good performance, score a few tries and be successful."

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