By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 09/03/23 11:58am
Warren Gatland has rung the changes for Wales in the Six Nations again, making six alterations to the side vs Italy as Alun Wyn Jones, Leigh Halfpenny and Louis Rees-Zammit are among those dropped.
The other changes see scrum-half Rhys Webb start over Tomos Williams – his first Test start for three years and first Six Nations start for six years – with loosehead Wyn Jones and flanker Jac Morgan also recalled.
Owen Williams starts again at fly-half over Dan Biggar – the latter missing out on the squad having lost his place in the starting side for the Round 3 20-10 defeat to England in Cardiff – while Liam Williams and Rio Dyer are restored at full-back and left wing respectively over Halfpenny and Rees-Zammit.
Exeter’s 20-year-old lock Dafydd Jenkins starts in place of 37-year-old Jones, while back-row Christ Tshiunza and prop Gareth Thomas make way for prop Jones and Morgan.
With both sides still seeking their first victory of the championship, Saturday’s clash in Rome is effectively a Wooden Spoon decider, and comes a year after Italy secured victory over Wales in Cardiff.
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Mason Grady, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Rhys Webb; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens (c), 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Dafydd Jenkins, 5 Adam Beard, 6 Jac Morgan, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 George North, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit.
Allan starts at full-back for Italy in absence of Capuozzo
Harlequins fly-half Tommy Allan will start at full-back for Italy in Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Wales.
Allan, who filled the fly-half role against France and England, replaces Ange Capuozzo.
Capuozzo memorably created Italy’s winning try in Cardiff last season, but he is sidelined by a shoulder injury that has meant Azzurri head coach Kieran Crowley makes one enforced change.
It is otherwise the same team that pushed Six Nations leaders and title favourites Ireland close last time out.
Italy are chasing a first Six Nations win in Rome since 2013, but they will fancy their chances against a Wales side reeling from successive losses to Ireland, Scotland and England.
Italy: 15 Tommaso Allan, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Pierre Bruno, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 3 Simone Ferrari, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 5 Federico Ruzza, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Michele Lamaro, 8 Lorenzo Cannone.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Edoardo Iachizzi, 20 Giovanni Pettinelli, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Luca Morisi.