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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 21 October 2020

Faletau to captain Wales for the first time as Gatland makes 10 changes for clash with Italy

The Welsh are in action on Sunday in Cardiff.

Taulupe Faletau will lead Wales for the first time on Sunday.
Taulupe Faletau will lead Wales for the first time on Sunday.
Image: AFP/Getty Images

TAULUPE FALETAU WILL captain Wales for the first time as head coach Warren Gatland today announced 10 changes to the starting line-up for the Six Nations clash against Italy.

James Davies, younger brother of Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan, is one of the fresh faces brought in by Gatland for Sunday’s match in Cardiff following a 37-27 defeat against Ireland 10 days ago.

Wing George North, centre Owen Watkin, fly-half Gareth Anscombe and hooker Elliot Dee have all been handed starts.

The five starting survivors from Dublin are Liam Williams, who moves from wing to full-back instead of Leigh Halfpenny, wing Steffan Evans, centre Hadleigh Parkes, scrum-half Gareth Davies and lock Cory Hill.

Regular skipper Alun Wyn Jones is rested, while Gatland has opted for a new-look back-row of Davies, Justin Tipuric in the number six shirt and fit-again Bath No.8 Faletau, who makes a first appearance in this season’s tournament.

“It is a great opportunity for Taulupe. He is a world class player, hugely experienced and this will be great for his development and we are looking forward to seeing those leadership qualities come through,” said Gatland.

“We have made some changes, but we are bringing in a lot of quality and a lot of experience with the likes of Bradley Davies, Justin Tipuric, George North and Taulupe.

“Add into that James Davies who gets his first cap, Elliot Dee who gets his first start — this is a great opportunity for them to play tournament rugby.

“It is challenging making changes, but we have picked a really exciting team and Sunday is their chance.”

WALES v Italy:

15. Liam Williams (Saracens)
14. George North (Northampton Saints)
13. Owen Watkin (Ospreys)
12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets)
11. Steffan Evans (Scarlets)
10. Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys)
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets)

1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs)
4. Cory Hill (Dragons)
5. Bradley Davies (Ospreys)
6. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)
7. James Davies (Scarlets)
8. Taulupe Faletau (captain) (Bath)

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16. Ken Owens (Scarlets)
17. Rob Evans (Scarlets)
18. Samson Lee (Scarlets)
19. Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues)
20. Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues)
21. Aled Davies (Scarlets)
22. Rhys Patchell (Scarlets)
23. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets)

© AFP 2018

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