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Wales's skipper Warburton on bench for Italy match

Wales skipper Sam Warburton will return on the bench after missing the clash with France.

Wales skipper Sam Warburton will return on the bench after missing the clash with France. Photo: Getty Images

CARDIFF: Wales's Sam Warburton will have to make do with a place on the bench after interim head coach Rob Howley confirmed his replacements Tuesday for Saturday's Six Nations international away to Italy.

Howley took the unusual step of naming his starting side for the clash at Rome's Olympic Stadium more than a week in advance when he announced he would field the same XV that took the field for the 16-6 victory over France in Paris -- a win that ended a run of eight straight Test defeats for Wales.

Warburton, Wales's captain at the 2011 World Cup and their skipper during last season's Six Nations Grand Slam campaign, missed the Stade de France fixture because of a shoulder injury.

Justin Tipuric filled Warburton's openside flanker role, with the captaincy reverting to former skipper and fellow back-row forward Ryan Jones.

Such was the performance of the two players in Paris that former Wales scrum-half Howley, in charge while Warren Gatland is seconded to the British and Irish Lions for their tour of Australia starting in June, felt no need to change a winning side.

Warburton has been joined on the bench by fit-again lock Alun-Wyn Jones, who hasn't played for Wales since suffering a shoulder injury during November's defeat by Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.

However, Jones -- who subsequently underwent surgery -- has since proved his fitness with a couple of appearances for Welsh regional side the Ospreys.

Cardiff Blues lock Lou Reed and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler dropped out of the matchday 23 to make way for Jones and Warburton, with Howley's experienced bench to face the Azzurri boasting a combined total of 264 caps.

"We announced last week that we would reward the starting XV that beat France by keeping faith with the same line-up for this weekend's game," Howley said Tuesday in a Welsh Rugby Union statement.

"The side is fit and raring to go and on the bench we have brought in Sam and Alun-Wyn who have both returned from injury which is a boost to the squad.

Victory for Wales in Rome would keep them in contention for the Six Nations title ahead of next month's remaining fixtures against Scotland and England.

Italy, however, caused the shock of the Championship so far when they beat pre-tournament favourites France 23-18 on the opening weekend in Rome.

Even though they suffered a 34-10 defeat against Scotland last time out in Edinburgh, Howley was taking nothing for granted against an Italy side who are set to be without inspirational captain Sergio Parisse after the back-row forward was sent off for insulting the referee while playing for French club Stade Francais last weekend.

"In France the players showed real determination and resilience and we will need that again in Rome," Howley said.

"Italy have already showed so far in this campaign what they are capable of, so we know the challenge we will be facing on Saturday."

Wales (15-1): Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Toby Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Ryan Jones (capt); Ian Evans, Andrew Coombs; Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard, Gethin Jenkins

Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Craig Mitchell, Alun-Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams


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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45Leicester City Stadium
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
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