Wales team to face Italy

The game isn’t until next weekend, but Warren Gatland has made 10 changes to the side that lost in Paris.

Sounds a little extreme, and although the Italians have looked fairly unthreatening, they should never be underestimated.

Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Mark Jones (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Gavin Henson (Ospreys), Shane Williams (Ospreys); James Hook (Ospreys), Dwayne Peel (Sale); John Yapp (Blues), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Rhys Thomas (Dragons), Luke Charteris (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (capt, Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), Andy Powell (Blues).
Replacements: Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Bradley Davies (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Ospreys), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues).

5 thoughts on “Wales team to face Italy

  1. Hmm , if they don’t do anything else the Italians can scrummage so changing all the front row is a bit of a gamble. Having said that all those front players have played against Italians before and won well.

    The backs line up would actually win a lot of votes over the one that started against France .

    Gatland wants to develop the squad and probably thinks a few players needed a kick up the pants following France, others are being rested.

    I would like us to win by 30 points to put some pressure on the Irish (and France ) presumably so would the coach , is he going about it the right way ? I’ll put my trust in him as he’s done far more right than wrong so far of course.

  2. It’s a bit of a sad state of affairs when a team can put out a 2nd team in the 6 Nations and be entirely confident of the win. It’s a tribute to Wales’s strength in depth and is why they will make up the bulk of the Lions party but it’s a damning indictment of the lack of progress Italy have made.

    Hope Hook has a blinder. When playing well he’s a different class to all the other Lions 10 options in terms of all round game if he improves his game management a bit.

  3. As I don’t like this at all. As I commented in an earlier thread Gatland is taking a big unnecessary risk, and unless he pulls it out of the bag and put 20 points on the Italians he would have lost us our shot at the championship. I will be in strange position again next round hoping the English beat the French to end their title hopes (remember they have Italy last and could put 50 points on them).

    With this Welsh selection I would now put the Irish slight favourites for the title, there is now to much chance that they could be over the hill and away from the Welsh as far as points difference is concerned going into the final weekend, making a Welsh win by anything less than a huge margin redundent.

  4. That’s all change in the back row too isn’t it? Have to say though, that area was their biggest weakness in Paris.

    As a neutral(ish) Englishman, am I alone in thinking that’s a bit harsh on Shanklin? If Roberts got a bit found out by the French and you want to try Henson at 12 why not bench Roberts? I’d prefer Shanklin at 13 if I was a Welsh fan.

    Henson in Rome reminds me of 4 years ago when they won the Grand Slam – he had a pretty good game all round but he made one howler where he tried to chip and chase from his own 22 but they just caught it and ran in an easy try!

  5. Fakey the reason I would only now put Ireland is slight favourites for the championship is that I assumed the points difference between the two teams going into the final game would be minimal, so it would effectivly be winner takes all, and with Wales playing at home I would give them a slight advantage (hense slight favourites), but like I said, if Wales have to make up 10-15 points or even more I just can’t see them doing it. So it comes down to the Italian game, where Gatland has now decided to take a gamble, bad move in my humble opinion.

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