Lydiate captains Wales against Italy

Dan Lydiate will captain Wales against Italy

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named Dan Lydiate to captain a team with four changes for this weekend’s Six Nations Championship match against Italy on Saturday.

Gatland has also included Tomas Francis in the team but his participation is subject to the outcome of disciplinary hearing.

Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb and Hallam Amos all come into the starting XV for Wales’ final 2016 Six 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 No8 Taulupe 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 Luke 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 Wales Head Coach 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.

“There are a number of changes, a couple injury enforced. Alun Wyn Jones has a foot problem that we have been managing for a while and he has played a lot of games. We have given Sam Warburton the week off, we decided not to push him through all the return to play protocols and we have also been managing a heel injury with Alex (Cuthbert) so Hallam comes on to the left wing.

“It’s good to see Rhys (Webb) back and starting, it’s a good opportunity for him.

“Saturday is a good chance for some of the players to redeem themselves and we are looking for a big performance.

“I’ve been involved in a couple of times when Dan (Lydiate) has captained the midweek sides and he jumped at the opportunity this weekend and it will be good to see how he goes.”

Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins and Francis are named as the front row replacements. Jake Ball and Ross Moriarty complete the forward contingent. Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland and Gareth Anscombe provide the backline cover.

Wales

Liam Williams (Scarlets), George North (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys); Rob Evans (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Luke Charteris (Racing 92), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys, Capt), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs / Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys)*, Jake Ball (Scarlets), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Bath Rugby), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues).

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