Wales team unchanged for Italy

First published in Wales rugby
Last updated

WALES interim head coach Rob Howley is to reward the players who ended a run of eight straight defeats against France in Paris.

 Howley is naming the same starting XV for the RBS Six Nations fixture against Italy in Rome on Saturday week, meaning there will be no place for regular skipper Sam Warburton.

Cardiff Blues flanker Warburton missed the 16-6 triumph in Paris after suffering a shoulder injury in the previous weekend's defeat at home to Ireland.

Ospreys flanker Ryan Jones took over the captaincy in Paris with Justin Tipuric filling Warburton's number seven spot, and the performances of the duo mean Warburton will not come back into the starting line-up even if he is fully recovered from his 'stinger' injury.

Howley said: "I have told the players the same XV will start in Italy. I think it is pretty important from a coach's perspective that we reward the players who have gone out on the field.

"I thought Ryan Jones was outstanding in terms of his leadership and it is a just reward that he captains the side against Italy."

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