Scarlets flanker Davies to make debut as Wales change 10 for Italy

Taulupe Faletau will captain Wales on his first appearance in the 2018 Six Nations
Six Nations: Wales v Italy
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Sunday, 11 March Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales coach Warren Gatland 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.

Scarlets flanker James Davies will win his first cap in a back row that sees Taulupe Faletau 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.

An all-new front row sees hooker Elliot Dee make his first start alongside Nicky Smith and Tomas Francis, with Bradley Davies joining Hill in the second row.

Justin Tipuric is selected at blindside flanker to complete a mobile-looking back row with debutant Davies and Lions forward Faletau.

Six Nations 2018: Gareth Davies on new cap James Davies and captain Taulupe Faletau

Behind the scrum Williams moves from wing to full-back to make way for North, while Ospreys centre Owen Watkin will make his first Six Nations start.

Gatland believes he is still fielding a high-calibre team despite the sweeping changes.

"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," he said.

"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.

Source: BBC Rugby Union News

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By adamreeves / Administrator, bbp_keymaster on Mar 07, 2018