Lydiate leads Wales against Italy

Date published: March 15 2016

CARDIFF, WALES - FEBRUARY 26:  Dan Lydiate of Wales is challenged by Virimi Vakatawa of France during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and France at the Principality Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Dan Lydiate will lead a Wales side that includes four personnel changes for the clash against Italy on Saturday.

Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb and Hallam Amos all come into the starting XV for Wales’ final 2016 Six Nations encounter.  Amongst the replacements Gethin Jenkins returns to the match day squad along with Jake Ball and Ross Moriarty.

Lydiate, who previously captained Wales in a midweek tour match against EP Kings in 2014, leads Wales for the first time in a Test match and is joined in the back row by Ospreys teammate Tipuric and number eight Taulupe Faletau.

Tipuric replaces Sam Warburton who suffered concussion against England and has been given more time to recover.

In the second row, the combination that finished the game at Twickenham, Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris, pack down together again. Charteris comes in for Alun Wyn Jones who misses out due to a heel injury.

Front row trio Rob Evans, Scott Baldwin and Samson Lee pack down for a fifth consecutive Six Nations match together.

In the backline Webb, whose last start was against Italy in September 2015, wears the nine jersey alongside Dan Biggar at ten. It is an unchanged midfield with Jamie Roberts partnering Jonathan Davies.

The tournaments joint top try scorer, George North, switches to wear 14, with Amos coming in at 11 due to a foot injury to Alex Cuthbert. Liam Williams continues at full-back.

“This weekend it is all about finishing off the tournament well and putting in a big performance,” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“We are disappointed with last week, especially the first half but a win on Saturday will see us finish the tournament in second and we have to aim for that now. 

“There are a number of changes, a couple injury enforced.  Alun Wyn Jones has a foot problem that we have been managing for a while and he has played a lot of games.  We have given Sam Warburton the week off, we decided not to push him through all the return to play protocols and we have also been managing a heel injury with Alex (Cuthbert) so Hallam comes on to the left wing.

“It’s good to see Rhys (Webb) back and starting, it’s a good opportunity for him.

“Saturday is a good chance for some of the players to redeem themselves and we are looking for a big performance.

“I’ve been involved in a couple of times when Dan (Lydiate) has captained the midweek sides and he jumped at the opportunity this weekend and it will be good to see how he goes.”

Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins and Aaron Jarvis – who comes in for the suspended Tomas Francis – are named as the front row replacements. Jake Ball and Ross Moriarty complete the forward contingent.  Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland and Gareth Anscombe provide the backline cover.

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate (c), 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Gareth Anscombe

Date: Saturday, March 19
Venue: Millennium Stadium
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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