Welsh skipper out of Italy encounter

by RUGBY.com.au staff

Wales captain Sam Warburton will miss the Grand Slam-chasers' Six Nations match against Italy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday with a knee injury.

Veteran prop Gethin Jenkins will lead the team in Warburton's absence with the flanker's place on the openside taken by Justin Tipuric.

In one other change to the starting side that beat England 19-12 at Twickenham last time out, former captain Matthew Rees returns at hooker in place of fellow Scarlets forward Ken Owens, now on the bench.

Wales are the only side left in the tournament who can win the Grand Slam after World Cup finalists France drew 17-17 with Ireland in Paris last weekend.

Wales XV: Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), George North (Scarlets); Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Michael Phillips (Bayonne/FRA); Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons); Ian Evans (Ospreys), Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys); Adam Jones (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues, capt)

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Paul James (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), James Hook (Perpignan/FRA), Scott Williams (Scarlets)