Six Nations

Wales change 11 for Six Nations trip to Rome

2019-02-07 12:42
Jonathan Davis (AP)

Cardiff - Jonathan Davies will captain Wales for the first time after the centre was named as skipper by coach Warren Gatland for Saturday's Six Nations match away to Italy in Rome.

Regular captain Alun Wyn Jones is on the bench.

Gatland, announcing his team from the squad's training base in Nice on Thursday, also gave a Six Nations debut to Thomas Young, the Wasps flank. 

Young, who won two caps against Tonga and Samoa on Wales' 2017 tour, lines up in the back-row alongside Aaron Wainwright and Josh Navidi.

The son of Wasps rugby director and former Wales prop Dai Young, Thomas Young has impressed in the English Premiership this season.

Gatland has made 10 changes and one positional switch from the side that came from 16-0 down at half-time to beat France 24-19 in Wales' Six Nations opener in Paris last week.

The New Zealander, in his final Six Nations as Wales coach before standing down after the World Cup, is keen to give all his squad members game time ahead of Japan 2019.

To that end, Leicester back Jonah Holmes has also been given a Six Nations debut, with scrumhalf Aled Davies and flank Wainwright making their first starts in the Championship.

Elsewhere, centre Owen Watkin, flyhalf Dan Biggar, lock Jake Ball and hooker Elliot Dee are all included, with Navidi moving from blindside flank to No 8.

But, as part of Gatland's squad rotation, several players who started against France are not in this week's matchday 23, including wing George North, centre Hadleigh Parkes and hooker Ken Owens.

Victory for Wales at the Stadio Olimpico would make it 11 successive wins and equal their all-time unbeaten record set between 1907 and 1910.

"We have made a number of changes this weekend, but have picked what we think is a very exciting team that still has huge experience throughout it," said Gatland in a Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) statement.

"We have made a similar number of changes to what we did last year, but it is all about opportunity for these players.

"We have had a squad of 31 training together, replicating the Rugby World Cup, and it is important they get game-time."

Gatland added: "It is a great opportunity for Jon (Davies) as captain. He has a huge amount of experience, is a great leader and it is a great honour for him to lead his country."

Italy opened the Six Nations with a 33-20 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield - their 18th successive Championship defeat.

But Gatland warned: "Italy will be hurting after last weekend, but they are a different proposition in Rome.

"They are an experienced team themselves and they will be looking to put things right on the pitch after their opening defeat."



15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Braam Steyn, 6 Sebastien Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 David Sisi, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Nicola Quaglio

Substitutes: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Marco Barbini, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti


15 Liam Williams, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Nicky Smith

Substitutes: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Hallam Amos

Read more on:    italy  |  wales  |  six nations  |  jonathan davis  |  rugby


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Saturday, 23 February 2019
France v Scotland, Stade de France 16:15
Wales v England, Principality Stadium 18:45
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Italy v Ireland, Stadio Olimpico 17:00
Saturday, 09 March 2019
Scotland v Wales, BT Murrayfield Stadium 16:15
England v Italy, Twickenham Stadium 18:45
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