Saturday, 19 March 2016

Wales v Italy - Preview

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Dan Lydiate will captain Wales in a Test match for the first time on Saturday, while Rhys Webb is preferred to Gareth Davies at scrum-half.

The other three changes are linked to injuries, with Justin Tipuric, Luke Charteris and Hallam Amos coming in.

Italy make five enforced changes. Tommy Allan is back at fly-half, with Andrea Pratichetti in for Michele Campagnaro.

Quintin Geldenhuys and Valerio Bernabo are selected in the second row and Martin Castrogiovanni is back at prop.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland: "This weekend it is all about finishing off the tournament well and putting in a big performance.

"Saturday is a good chance for some of the players to redeem themselves.

"A lot of questions have been asked about Italy. I think they thoroughly deserve to be in the Six Nations. They have contributed to it enormously and had some great wins over the years."

Italy head coach Jacques Brunel: "The spine of the team is not different to that which has played this tournament.

"Wales, like Ireland, is capable of playing with great effectiveness. We cannot concede them time and space like we did in Dublin. It will be crucial to slow down their play and maintain the right attitude for the whole 80 minutes."

Head-to-head
Wales have won nine matches in a row against Italy since a 23-20 defeat in Rome in 2007.

The closest Italy have ever come to beating their hosts in Wales was an 18-18 draw in 2006 at the now-Principality Stadium. The Italians have lost their other 11 away games against Wales.

Wales could earn six successive victories at the Principality Stadium for the first time. They won their opening five Tests there in 1999. They have won their concluding Six Nations match in each of the past four seasons.

Italy have only won two of their 42 Six Nations away fixtures, both in Edinburgh.

They have lost 11 of their last 13 matches, with their only wins coming in the World Cup pool stage against Canada and Romania.

Wales
15-Liam Williams, 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-Hallam Amos; 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Rhys Webb; 1-Rob Evans, 2-Scott Baldwin, 3-Samson Lee, 4-Bradley Davies, 5-Luke Charteris, 6-Dan Lydiate (captain), 7-Justin Tipuric, 8-Taulupe Faletau
Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Gethin Jenkins, 18-Aaron Jarvis, 19-Jake Ball, 20-Ross Moriarty, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Rhys Priestland, 23-Gareth Anscombe

Italy
15-David Odiete, 14-Leonardo Sarto, 13-Andrea Pratichetti, 12-Gonzalo Garcia, 11-Mattia Bellini, 10-Tommaso Allan, 9-Guglielmo Palazzani; 1-Andrea Lovotti, 2-Davide Giazzon, 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 4-Quintin Geldenhuys, 5-Valerio Bernabo, 6-Francesco Minto, 7-Alessandro Zanni, 8-Sergio Parisse (captain),
Replacements: 16-Oliviero Fabiani, 17-Matteo Zanusso, 18-Dario Chistolini, 19-Jacopo Sarto, 20-Abraham Steyn, 21-Alberto Lucchese, 22-Kelly Haimona, 23-Luke McLean.

MATCH OFFICIALS
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England) & Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)


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