Wales unchanged for Italy

Date published: February 19 2013

Wales head coach Rob Howley has named an unchanged starting XV to face Italy in the Six Nations, with Sam Warburton on the bench.

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has named an unchanged starting XV to face Italy in the Six Nations, with Sam Warburton on the bench.

Ryan Jones once again captains the side after victory against France in Paris, with regular captain Sam Warburton returning on the bench after missing the last match through injury.

Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones returns from injury to win a spot on the bench alongside Warburton in the only two changes to the 22.

“It is one of the toughest places to go in Europe,” said Howley.

“I think they have got a great set-piece, and it is important we stop them at source and impact the game on what we want to bring to the 80 minutes.

“We've always had a tough outing against Italy, home or away. They are very difficult to break down, they are very well organised, they've got some world-class players and they are coached very well.

“It is a good challenge for us. On the back of winning in France, we realise that one win isn't good enough. It is about some momentum, and we need to go out there and beat Italy.

“The key for the weekend is discipline. It is the one thing we will talk about between now and then.”

“With Alun-Wyn and Sam on the bench, that experience and impact is so important,” Howley added.

“The last 20-25 minutes in games are key, and having their experience is a priceless commodity. I am sure they will have a huge impact on the weekend.

“Sam is fully fit, he's taken an active part in training, and it's great to have that experience. International rugby is about 23 players.

“Sam will go on to play many games for Wales and captain Wales. He is the ultimate professional. He is very grounded, and he understands regarding the decision that it was the best for the team.

“He has been fantastic in training, and he is obviously looking forward to making a difference when he goes on.”

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 (c), 5 Ian Evans, 4 Andrew Coombs, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 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.

Kick-off: 15:30 (14:30 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Pascal Gauzere (France)
Television match official: Geoff Warren (England)