Shane Willliams wants Wales to hand Kieran Hardy his first Six Nations start when they play for the Triple Crown against England on Saturday.
He also urges Wayne Pivac to choose Liam Williams at full-back ahead of Leigh Halfpenny.
And Wales’ all-time record try scorer would pick Josh Adams on the wing, George North and Johnny Williams in the centre and name Aaron Wainwright at blindside flanker in his side to face Eddie Jones’ team.
The call at No. 9 is bold.
Hardy has only three caps, whereas Gareth Davies has featured 59 times on the Test stage. But with Hardy on the pitch for the final half-hour against Scotland at Murrayfield last time out, Wales hit back from 17-8 down to pull off a memorable victory.
Williams writes in a column for The Rugby Paper : “Gareth is one of the great broken-field runners and is brilliant coming off the bench and playing against tired defences.
“That’s what I’d like to see him do against England.
“I’d back Pivac giving Hardy his first Six Nations start in the absence of Tomos Williams and tell him to build on his 30 minutes in Scotland.
“He’s a more experienced a player than people realise and has a good skill set.”
There isn’t such a radical pick at No. 10.
Callum Sheedy may have played his part next to Sheedy at half-back in the Welsh revival in round two, but Williams would opt for Dan Biggar on the grounds of the 31-year-old’s experience and game-controlling skills.
But, according to the celebrated former wide-man, Pivac would be within his rights to have a word in Biggar’s ear and tell the Northampton man he expects more after the No. 10 was replaced on 49 minutes against the Scots.
It is unclear whether Halfpenny will be fit or not after the Scarlet failed a head injury assessment in the game a week last Saturday. If he is available there’s a potential decision to be made at full-back between him and Liam Williams, with Halfpenny not at his best against Gregor Townsend’s side.
The question is whether one of Wales’ most dependable players over the past decade has enough credit in the bank to keep his place.
But with Josh Adams available again after serving out his suspension for a breach of the Covid regulations, who Pivac picks as his last line of defence could be linked to his choices out wide.
Shane would solve the dilemma by moving namesake Liam to No. 15 and choosing Adams and Louis Rees-Zammit as his flyers.
“Recalling Adams, who will be champing at the bit to regain his status as Wales number one wing and will want to give back to the squad after his Covid breach, is perhaps the most obvious move, but it comes at a price. Do you drop Liam Williams? No, you move him to full-back and, unfortunately, leave out Halfpenny,” says Williams, explaining his call.
There is no place in his starting XV for Jonathan Davies in the centre as he returns to fitness after injury and Willis Halaholo and Owen Watkin also miss out.
Wainwright would retain his spot at blindside flanker, Williams feeling he needs a run of games to return to his 2019 form. That selection would enable a fit-again Josh Navidi to be “eased into the game as it unfolds” after his opening day injury against Ireland.
Shane Williams’ Wales XV to play England : Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Johnny Williams, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Kieran Hardy; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.