Ospreys captain Justin Tipuric has played 85 internationals for Wales and one test for the British and Irish Lions

Ospreys flanker Justin Tipuric will replace Dan Biggar as Wales captain for the autumn internationals.

Biggar will miss the campaign with a knee injury and head coach Wayne Pivac initially did not name a captain when announcing his squad.

Pivac excelled with Tipuric as captain in the four-match series against New Zealand, Argentina, Georgia and Australia.

Wales open the series against the All Blacks on Saturday 5 November.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect it,” Tipuric said.

“I’m just happy to be back in the team, and to take on the responsibility of putting such a great bunch of guys on the field is one of those undoubted moments of your career.”

Tipuric, 33, has missed the 2021-22 season with a shoulder injury sustained while playing for the British and Irish Lions against Japan in June 2021.

After returning to action earlier this season, Tipuric suffered a rib injury before returning as a substitute in the Rugby United Championship match against the Dragons on 23 October.

He was chosen to captain Wales for the first time at the 2019 World Cup against Uruguay.

He also captained the side against the Barbarians in a non-capped international in Pivac’s first game in November 2019 and against Georgia in 2020.

In 2018, Tipuric took over as Ospreys captain from Alun Wyn Jones.

Pivac’s other back-row options in his squad include Jack Morgan, Tommy Refel, Josh McLeod, Dan Lydiate, Christo Ciunza and Taulupe Faletau, who has a calf injury.

“It’s very exciting to return to the stadium,” Tipuric added.

“You take it for granted not playing there for a while and I think when you’re out of the game for a while you look back on it and show how much you miss it.

“That’s one of the biggest things you miss in rugby, is you want to get the most out of it, whether it’s one more game or another 10 minutes.”

Pivac outlined the reasons why he chose Tipurich over other contenders.

“He’s a very mature player, he’s captained the team before when we first played against the Barbarians and he’s done a really good job in the first couple of weeks,” Pivac added.

“We think he’s going to be a starter and he’s earned the respect of every player in the lineup, from the oldest to the youngest.

“We also look at the ability to communicate with the referees and the impact you may or may not have on the game.

“We think he ticks the boxes that we need.

“Justin can play all three positions in the back row so we’ve got a few options with the group we’ve got.

“Obviously when it comes to selection we’re already talking about likely and possible selection for New Zealand and Justin will be somewhere in that mix.”

Pivac praised Tipuric’s character after battling a long-term injury that sidelined him for 14 months.

“He, like a number of players, has been seriously injured over the last 18 months and has done a great job to get back to this level of play in the short space of time he has been cleared to play.

“I admire those players who have gone through those dark times and when they come out the other side, they tend to be a lot stronger.

“He’s lucky in a way that he’s at a stage in his career where he understands and knows that these things can happen.

“He’s probably had a few injuries before, but this one was probably particularly nasty.

“I’m just delighted he’s available again for Wales.”

The composition of the national team of Wales for the autumn international matches

forwards: Rhodri Jones (Dragons), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Bradley Roberts (Dragons), Thomas Francis (Ospreys), Dylan Lewis (Cardiff Rugby), Sam Wainwright (Saracens), Adam Bird (Ospreys), Ben Carter (Dragons), Alan Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Will Rowlands (Dragons), Taulupe Faletou (Cardiff Rugby), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Josh McLeod (Scarlets), Jac Morgan (Ospreys), Tommy Refel (Leicester Tigers), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, captain), Christ Ciunza (Exeter Chiefs).

Backs: Dane Blacker (Scarlets), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Thomas Williams (Cardiff Rugby), Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), Sam Costello (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Cardiff Rugby), Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), George North (Ospreys), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby), Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys), Rio Dyer (Dragons), Lee Halfpenny (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester).