1. ITV Report

Wales ring the changes for Italy clash

The number eight returns to the side to lead Wales against Italy. Credit: PA images

Taulupe Faletau will Captain Wales for the first time as part of a new-look Wales side to face Italy on Saturday.

The Bath number eight returned to the side following time out through injury and joins an all-new back row alongside Justin Tipuric and debutante James Davies.

Bradley Davies starts for the first time this campaign in the second row alongside Cory Hill while changes in the front row mean Nicky Smith and Tomas Francis partner up either side of uncapped hooker Elliot Dee.

The changes continue in the back line with Gareth Davies and Gareth Anscombe once again partnering up at half-back while centre Hadleigh Parkes has a new partner in youngster Owen Watkin.

Liam Williams moves to full back with Leigh Halfpenny moving the bench, leaving George North and Steff Evans to pair up on either wing for a game that Wales will be determined to win following their disappointment in Dublin two weeks ago.

Wales team to play Italy:

  • Liam Williams (Saracens) (46 Caps)
  • George North (Northampton Saints) (71 Caps)
  • Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (3 Caps)
  • Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (4 Caps)
  • Steff Evans (Scarlets) (8 Caps)
  • Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (14 Caps)
  • Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (30 Caps)
  • Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (16 Caps)
  • Elliot Dee (Dragons) (5 Caps)
  • Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (29 Caps)
  • Cory Hill (Dragons) (13 Caps)
  • Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (60 Caps)
  • Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (55 Caps)
  • James Davies (Scarlets) (*Uncapped)
  • Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (70 Caps) (CAPT)


  • Ken Owens (Scarlets) (55 Caps)
  • Rob Evans (Scarlets) (23 Caps)
  • Samson Lee (Scarlets) (37 Caps)
  • Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps)
  • Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) (5 Caps)
  • Aled Davies (Scarlets) (7 Caps)
  • Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (7 Caps)Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (76 Caps)

Warren Gatland says Sunday is a chance fpr the debutants in the team to show what they can do:

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.

We have made some changes, but 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.

– Warren Gatland, Wales head coach.