Warburton leads unchanged Wales against Ireland

Wales coach Warren Gatland has named an unchanged team to play Ireland in the Six Nations with Sam Warburton captaining the team for a record 34th time.

Cardiff Blues flanker Warburton will overtake Ryan Jones’ record of leading Wales on 33 occassions as Wales look for their third victory of the Six Nations

Gatland has kept the faith with this starting team who beat France at Stade de France two weeks ago.

There are however two injury-forced changes on the bench with uncapped Rob Evans and his Scarlets teammate Jake Ball coming in for Paul James and Bradley Davies respectively.

Gethin Jenkins will earn his 114th cap alongside Scott Baldwin and Samson Lee in the front-row.

Luke Charteris and Alun Wyn Jones partner in the second row with Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau lining up alongside captain Warburton.

Ospreys duo Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar continue at half-back with Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies named in the midfield. The back-three sees Liam Williams and George North line up with Leigh Halfpenny.

“We return to the Millennium Stadium after two tough away trips with two victories and will be looking to build on that,” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“We saw an improvement against Scotland and then saw another step up against France and we know we will need to do the same against Ireland on Saturday.

“Ireland are the form team in Europe and we know it is going to be a huge battle.

“The changes on the bench mean Rob Evans gets an opportunity. We have been impressed with him for his region and at training. Our strength in depth in the second-row is highlighted again as Jake comes back into the squad.

“Saturday is also a fantastic achievement and honour for Sam. He has developed into the role fantastically and is a modern day professional. He is a role model that will continue to get better.”

Richard Hibbard and Aaron Jarvis join Evans as the front-row contingent on the bench. Ball and Justin Tipuric complete the forward replacements. Mike Phillips, Rhys Priestland and Scott Williams again provide the backline cover.

Wales

Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), George North (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, CAPT), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets).

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