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Priestland in Wales squad for Super Saturday

15 March 2016

Bath Rugby fly-half Rhys Priestland has been named on the bench for Wales’s final RBS 6 Nations match of the year, as they welcome Italy to the Principality Stadium this Super Saturday (kick-off 14:30).

Priestland was a late replacement in last Saturday's loss to England at Twickenham, helping to inspire a thrilling comeback before Wales went down 25-21. 

Lock Luke Charteris and number eight Toby Faletau, who move to the Rec next season, both start in the Welsh pack. Dan Lydiate leads the Wales side that includes four personnel changes.

Head Coach Warren Gatland said: "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."

Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb and Hallam Amos all come into the starting XV for Wales' final 2016 RBS 6 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 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 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 10. 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 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."

Wales team to face Italy

15 Liam Williams (Scarlets)
14 George North (Northampton Saints)
13 Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont)
12 Jamie Roberts (Harlequins)
11 Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons)
10 Dan Biggar (Ospreys)
9 Rhys Webb (Ospreys)
1 Rob Evans (Scarlets)
2 Scott Baldwin (Ospreys)
3 Samson Lee (Scarlets)
4 Bradley Davies (Wasps)
5 Luke Charteris (Racing 92)
6 Dan Lydiate (Ospreys) (c)
7 Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)
8 Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons)

Replacements

16 Ken Owens (Scarlets)
17 Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues)
18 Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs / Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys)*
19 Jake Ball (Scarlets)
20 Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby)
21 Gareth Davies (Scarlets)
22 Rhys Priestland (Bath Rugby)
23 Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues).

*Tomas Francis is named, subject to outcome of disciplinary hearing. 

 

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