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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
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# Comeback
Dan Biggar set for landmark 100th Wales appearance as Alun Wyn Jones returns
Fly-half will become the seventh Welshman to reach a century for their country.

DAN BIGGAR WILL win his 100th Wales cap in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against Italy.

Only six other Welshmen – Alun Wyn Jones, Gethin Jenkins, Stephen Jones, George North, Martyn Williams and Gareth Thomas – have clocked up a century for their country.

Jones, meanwhile, is poised to collect cap number 150 for Wales – an ongoing world record – after being named in the starting line-up.

The 36-year-old has not played since suffering a shoulder injury during Wales’ Autumn Nations series opener against New Zealand in late October.

Jones had two operations, and most medical forecasts were that he would miss the entire Six Nations, but he is back ahead of schedule and partners Adam Beard in the second-row.

Fly-half Biggar captains a team showing seven changes following the 13-9 defeat against title and Grand Slam-chasing France last Friday.

Jones apart, other players called up are full-back Johnny McNicholl, wing Louis Rees-Zammit, centre Uilisi Halaholo, scrum-half Gareth Davies, hooker Dewi Lake and prop Dillon Lewis.

Players dropping out include Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Ryan Elias and Will Rowlands.

Hailing the personal career milestones of Biggar and Wyn Jones, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “Dan and Al are huge players for Wales and have been for many years now.

“We’ve said with other players reaching 100 appearances, what an achievement that is and for Dan I know he has been looking forward to this moment for a long time.

“For him to achieve it with Al, who is also getting the milestone of 150 caps – which no other player has ever done – I think it’s fitting for those two to share the day.

“They have played a lot of rugby together and have a healthy respect for each other. They’ve given so much for the game in Wales.”

A bonus-point victory for Wales over the Azzurri in Cardiff could see them claim a third-place finish, depending on how England and Scotland fare in their final games.

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Wales won 42-0 when Italy last visited the Welsh capital and their opponents have lost 36 successive Six Nations Tests since toppling Scotland at Murrayfield in February 2015.

Pivac added: “We’ve made a few changes this week. With one game to go, there are some players we need to see out there and put them in the match-day 23.

“We’ve certainly selected a side which we think can get the job done. There is an opportunity to move up that table, so we think this is an exciting team and one we are looking forward to seeing out there.

“Italy are a side that’s improving. They’ve had some bad luck here and there and, with a new coach transitioning, we know it takes a bit of time.”

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Press Association

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