Lock Alun Wyn Jones is one of two senior players dropped as Wales coach Warren Gatland made six changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against fellow strugglers Italy in Rome.
Jones, the world’s most-capped international, experienced fullback Leigh Halfpenny and wing Louis Rees-Zammit are among those axed.
The other changes to the starting line-up beaten 20-10 by England in Cardiff last time out see scrumhalf Rhys Webb recalled instead of Tomos Williams for his first Six Nations start in six years, with flanker Jac Morgan and loosehead prop Wyn Jones also back.
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Both Italy and Wales have yet to win in this Six Nations and whoever loses Saturday’s match could end up with the wooden spoon, something Wales last collected back in 2003.
The Welsh have lost three successive matches since Gatland returned for a second spell as coach.
Prior to that, Gatland’s Wales predecessor Wayne Pivac managed a mere three wins from his last 12 Tests.
🏴 𝐂𝐘𝐌𝐑𝐔 𝐗𝐕 🏴
The Welsh 23 set to face Italy in Rome
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Photo: EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga