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Warburton and Webb return for Italy clash

By Peter Thompson
Wales flanker Sam Warburton

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Sam Warburton will start Wales’ first game of the Six Nations and Rhys Webb also returns against Italy in Rome on Sunday.

Rob Howley has gone with former captain Warburton at blindside flanker, with Thomas Young not even named among the replacements despite such impressive displays for Wasps this season.

Webb is back in the side at scrum-half after recovering from an ankle injury sustained in a drubbing by Australia in November, as Howley makes five changes to the team that beat South Africa.

Leigh Halfpenny starts at full-back, so Liam Williams is selected on the wing. Props Samson Lee and Nicky Smith also get the nod along with lock Jake Ball for the clash at Stadio Olimpico.

Ross Moriarty will don the number eight shirt after Taulupe Faletau was ruled out as he recovers from a knee injury.

The Test in Rome will be Wales’ first since Alun Wyn Jones replaced Warburton as skipper.

 

Wales team: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Liam Williams, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Rob Evans, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, James King, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Jamie Roberts.

 

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