Warren Gatland, the Wales coach has made 10 changes for Sunday’s Six Nations match with Italy in Cardiff. Liam Williams, Steff Evans, Hadleigh Parkes, Gareth Davies and Cory Hill survive from the 37-27 loss in Ireland.
James Davies will win his first cap in a back row. Taulupe Faletau will return at number eight to captain the side. Gareth Anscombe is named at fly-half with Northampton Saints’ George North selected on the right wing.
Despite the sweeping changes, Gatland believes he is still fielding a high-calibre team. He said: “We are bringing in a lot of quality and a lot of experience with the likes of Bradley Davies, Justin Tipuric, George North and Taulupe.”
“Add into that James Davies who gets his first cap, Elliot Dee who gets his first start – this is a great opportunity for them to play tournament rugby. It is challenging making changes, but we have picked a really exciting team and Sunday is their chance.
“It is a great opportunity for Taulupe – he is a world-class player, hugely experienced and this will be great for his development and we are looking forward to seeing those leadership qualities come through.”
Wales: L Williams, North, Watkin, Parkes, S Evans; Anscombe, G Davies; Smith, Dee, Francis, Hill, B Davies, Tipuric, J Davies, Faletau (capt).
Replacements: Owens, R Evans, Lee, S Davies, Jenkins, A Davies, Patchell, Halfpenny.
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