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Faletau back in the starting line-up for Wales ahead of opening Six Nations fixture

30 January 2020

Bath Rugby no8 Taulupe Faletau has been named in the starting XV for Wales when they take on Italy in their opening match of the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 01 February at the Principality Stadium (kick-off 14:15, live on BBC One Wales and S4C).

Faletau returned to playing in the Blue, Black and White only last December after a lengthy spell on the side-lines with a succession of arm and collarbone injuries. After just over 11 months, Faletau returned to play against Sale at the Rec and delivered a stand-out performance.

The back row starts for Wales on Saturday for his first international in almost two years. His most recent Test match was against France in March 2018, missing the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

He will join back row teammates Aaron Wainwright and Justin Tipuric in a side captained by Welsh talisman Alun Wyn Jones, who will be appearing in the red jersey for the first time since Wales’ World Cup heartbreak at the hands of South Africa.

Bath Rugby Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper said: “It’s great to see Taulupe back in the starting line-up for Wales. He’s worked really hard over the last few months to come back from injury and we saw what a stand-out player he is when he returned for his first game in 11 months for Bath back in December.

“His commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation was outstanding. The Performance Department here worked hard with him to ensure he not only returned to the game successfully, but in excellent condition and high levels of fitness.

“His three games back for Bath Rugby, along with his known abilities and passion for playing for his country, clearly demonstrated to Wayne Pivac the value of our no8 in a squad where there is fierce competition for that jersey.

“We’re proud to see Taulupe starting against Italy on Saturday and wish him the very best of luck.”

Wales team to face Italy

  1. Wyn Jones
  2. Ken Owens
  3. Dillon Lewis
  4. Jake Ball
  5. Alun Wyn Jones (captain)
  6. Aaron Wainwright
  7. Justin Tipuric
  8. Taulupe Faletau
  9. Tomos Williams
  10. Dan Biggar
  11. Josh Adams
  12. Hadleigh Parkes
  13. George North
  14. Johnny McNicholl
  15. Leigh Halfpenny

Replacements

  1. Ryan Elias
  2. Rob Evans
  3. Leon Brown
  4. Cory Hill
  5. Ross Moriarty
  6. Rhys Webb
  7. Jarrod Evans
  8. Nick Tompkins

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