Wales say 'same again' for Italy

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has rewarded the starting XV that beat France 16-6 last weekend by confirming the same line-up will start the clash against Italy in Rome on Saturday, 23 February.

Howley has kept faith with the side that recorded Wales’ first win in Paris since 2005 and believes the players deserve to keep their places for the clash at the Stadio Olimpico.

“On the back of the performance at the weekend, we have decided to reward the players who took to the field and the same XV who started in Paris will start against Italy,” said Howley.

“It’s a reward for their performance.  We talked about attitude, determination and resilience and a side that comes up with a win out in France, which is not an easy place to win on any occasion, deserves to start the next match.

“Obviously we are mindful that the XV selected is dependent on injuries, with some players playing before next week, but if everyone comes through it will be the same XV.

“I thought Ryan (Jones) was outstanding in terms of his leadership and he will captain the side against Italy.  Sam (Warburton) is still feeling the stinger to some extent but it has improved but I just want to clarify that the team comes first and the way the team played, they deserve to start again.”

The full 23-man squad which will face Italy will be announced next Tuesday, 19 February.

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