Six Nations

Wales' Warburton on bench

2013-02-19 15:42
Sam Warburton (File)

Cardiff - Wales' Sam Warburton will have to make do with a place on the bench after interim head coach Rob Howley confirmed his replacements on Tuesday for Saturday's Six Nations international away to Italy.

Howley took the unusual step of naming his starting side for the clash at Rome's Olympic Stadium more than a week in advance when he announced he would field the same XV that took the field for the 16-6 victory over France in Paris - a win that ended a run of eight straight Test defeats for Wales.

Warburton, Wales' captain at the 2011 World Cup and their skipper during last season's Six Nations Grand Slam campaign, missed the Stade de France fixture because of a shoulder injury.

Justin Tipuric filled Warburton's openside flanker role, with the captaincy reverting to former skipper and fellow back-row forward Ryan Jones.

Such was the performance of the two players in Paris that former Wales scrumhalf Howley, in charge while Warren Gatland is seconded to the British and Irish Lions for their tour of Australia starting in June, felt no need to change a winning side.

Warburton has been joined on the bench by fit-again lock Alun-Wyn Jones, who hasn't played for Wales since suffering a shoulder injury during November's defeat by Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.

However, Jones - who subsequently underwent surgery - has since proved his fitness with a couple of appearances for Welsh regional side the Ospreys.

Cardiff Blues lock Lou Reed and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler dropped out of the match-day 23 to make way for Jones and Warburton, with Howley's experienced bench to face the Azzurri boasting a combined total of 264 caps.

Victory for Wales in Rome would keep them in contention for the Six Nations title ahead of next month's remaining fixtures against Scotland and England.

Teams:

Italy:

TBA

Wales:

15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North; 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips; 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones (captain); 5 Ian Evans, 4 Andrew Coombs; 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Sam Warburton, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Scott Williams

Read more on:    six nations  |  sam warburton  |  rugby
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