Wales Vs Italy

Wales prospects ?

  • Flash in the pan

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Unbeaten to the end!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Early days yet and shoot

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Well no wooden spoon anyway

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  • Total voters


Book Reviewer
from RBS

Warren Gatland has made six changes to the team who beat Scotland 30-15 last Saturday for the Millennium Stadium clash against Italy in the 2008 RBS Six Nations Championship in 11 days time (kick-off 3.00pm).
The Wales Head Coach has taken the original step of naming his side well in advance of Italy's visit to Cardiff on Saturday, 23 February, so giving the maximum preparation time to his new-look team striving to win three games on the bounce for the first time since 2005.

In the backs, experienced half-back pairing Stephen Jones and Dwayne Peel - who boast 127 caps between them - replace Mike Phillips and James Hook, who both move to the bench. Mark Jones also returns after missing out against Scotland in place of wing debutant Jamie Roberts.
Up front, Wales field an entirely new front row with 55-times capped prop Gethin Jenkins partnering Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees and Dragons tighthead prop Rhys Thomas.

The second row Ospreys pairing of Ian Evans and Ian Gough remains intact and last weekend's man-of-the-match Martyn Williams retains his influence alongside captain Ryan Jones and Jonathan Thomas in an unchanged back row. Alun-Wyn Jones was not considered for selection due to injury.
"Our focus is now entirely on Italy, we've made six changes, but are in the enviable position of being able to do so without weakening our line-up," said Gatland.
"Players have put their hands up with performances from the bench and in Stephen, Dwayne, Mark and Gethin we are a bringing a wealth of experience and talent into the side.
"Gareth Delve has also shown he is a force to be reckoned with and, although we thought Jamie Roberts had a big, strong and impressive debut in a Wales shirt against Scotland, we have recalled Mark Jones to offer us some extra pace and experience out wide.
"There is consistency of selection elsewhere in the backs with Gavin and Tom going well and developing an interesting partnership and both Shane Williams and Lee Byrne can be proud of the contributions they have made to our campaign so far."

Tom Shanklin will become the 20th Welsh player to win 50 caps when he takes the field in front of what is fast approaching to be a sell-out Millennium Stadium crowd a week Saturday.
Wales last won three matches on the bounce all of 32 games ago when they beat Japan, England, Italy, France, Scotland, Ireland, USA and Canada in the 2005 Grand Slam season.
"All talk of Triple Crowns or even Championships needs to be put on hold, we've won two games in a row and it's our mission now to win three," added Gatland.
"The Ireland game will be a defining moment for our season, but we need to be travelling to Dublin with a good win against Italy under our belts.
"If we are not then we are not giving ourselves the best chance of success. Italy are tough opposition and have been progressing well under new coach Nick Mallett.
"They gave England a scare last week and they always rise to the occasion and pick up a result somewhere in the Six Nations and we need to be on our guard."

WALES: Lee Byrne; Mark Jones, Tom Shanklin, Gavin Henson, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Rhys Thomas, Ian Gough, Ian Evans, Jonathan Thomas, Martyn Williams, Ryan Jones (Captain)
Replacements: Huw Bennett, Duncan Jones, Deiniol Jones, Gareth Delve, Mike Phillips, James Hook, Sonny Parker


15 Lee BYRNE (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,041)
DoB: 01.06.80. 6'3" / 1.91m. 15st 4lbs / 97kgs
International record: 16 caps (W 5, L 10, D 1; 15 pts - 3T)

DoB: 07.11.79. 6'2" / 1.88m. 14st 5lbs / 91kgs
International record: 36 caps (W 14, L 20, D 2; 60 pts - 12T)

DoB: 24.11.79. 6'2" / 1.88m. 15st 9lbs / 99kgs
International record: 49 caps (W 22, L 26, D 1; 85 pts - 17T)

12 Gavin HENSON (OSPREYS - Cap No 990)
DoB: 01.02.82. 6'0" / 1.83m. 15st 7lbs / 98kgs
International record: 25 caps (W 13, L 11, D 1; 130 pts - 3T,29C,18PG,1DG)

11 Shane WILLIAMS (OSPREYS - Cap No 976)
DoB: 26.02.77. 5'7" / 1.71m. 12st 13lbs / 82kgs
International record: 53 caps (W 26, L 25, D 2; 185 pts - 37T)

10 Stephen JONES (LLANELLI SCARLETS - Cap No 966)
DoB: 08.12.77. 6'1" / 1.86m. 14st 12lbs / 94kgs
International record: 67 caps (W29, L36, D2; 577 pts - 6T,107C,108PG,3DG)

9 Dwayne PEEL (LLANELLI SCARLETS - Cap No 994)
DoB: 31.08.81. 5'9" / 1.76m. 13st 8lbs / 86kgs
International record: 60 caps (W 26, L 32, D 2; 25 pts - 5T)

1 Gethin JENKINS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,006)
DoB: 17.11.80. 6'2" / 1.88m. 18st 9lbs / 118kgs
International record: 55 caps (W 22, L 31, D 2; 15 pts - 3T)

2 Matthew REES (LLANELLI SCARLETS - Cap No 1,033)
DoB: 09.12.80. 6'0" / 1.83m. 16st 9lbs / 106kgs
International record: 18 caps (W 7, L 10, D 1; 10 pts - 2T)

DoB: 31.07.82. 82. 6'1" / 1.86m. 17st 6lbs / 111kgs
International record: 3 caps (L 3)

4 Ian GOUGH (OSPREYS - Cap No 964)
DoB: 10.11.76. 6' 6" / 1.98m. 18st 9lbs / 118kgs
International record: 47 caps (W 20, L 24, D 3; 5 pts - 1T)

5 Ian EVANS (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,045)
DoB: 04.10.84. 6'8" / 2.04m. 18st 3lbs / 116kgs
International record: 10 caps (W 4, L 5, D 1; 5 pts - 1T)

6 Jonathan THOMAS (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,013)
DoB: 27.12.82. 6'5" / 1.96m. 17st 5lbs / 110kgs
International record: 41 caps (W 19, L 20, D 2; 35 pts - 7T)

7 Martyn WILLIAMS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 944)
DoB: 01.09.75. 6'0" / 1.83m. 15st 13lbs / 101kgs
International record: 78 caps (W 34, L 40, D 3; 68 pts - 13T, 1DG)

8 Ryan JONES (OSPREYS, CAPTAIN - Cap No 1,029)
DoB: 13.03.81. 6'5" / 1.96m. 18st 0lbs / 114kgs
International record: 18 caps (W 10, L 7, D 1; 5 pts - 1T)


16 Huw BENNETT (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,017)
DoB: 11.06.83. 6'0" / 1.83m. 17st 5lbs / 110kgs
International record: 16 caps (W 9, L 7)

17 Duncan JONES (OSPREYS - Cap No 997)
DoB: 18.09.78. 6'0" / 1.83m. 17st 8lbs / 112kgs
International record: 47 caps (W 20, L 25, D 2)

18 Deiniol JONES (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 981)
DoB: 18.11.77. 6'5" / 1.96m. 18st 2lbs / 115kgs
International record: 4 caps (W 3, L 1)

19 Gareth DELVE (GLOUCESTER RUGBY - Cap No 1,043)
DoB: 30.12.82. 6'3" / 1.91m. 17st 13lbs / 114kgs
International record: 5 caps (W 2, L 3; 5 pts - 1T)

20 Michael PHILLIPS (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,022)
DoB: 29.08.82. 6'3" / 1.91m. 16st 4lbs / 103kgs
International record: 30 caps (W 14, L 15, D 1; 20 pts - 4T)

21 James HOOK (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,047)
DoB: 27.06.85. 6'0" / 1.83m. 14st 3lbs / 90kgs
International record: 22 caps (W 8, L 13, D 1; 166 pts - 6T,29C,24PG,2DG)

22 Sonny PARKER (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,007)
DoB: 27.08.77. 6'1" / 1.86m. 15st 13lbs / 101kgs
International record: 29 caps (W 14, L 15;


( if this was useful - zip over to the site in my sig and sponsor me the price of a pint ! - Diolch yn Fawr :-D )
I think Hooky's been a bit hard done by. But it's a tough call - Gatland is right in saying Wales have a lot of talented players to choose from right now. And I don't think we've seen them play to their best yet. I agree with one of the sports writers in the papers, who said that someone is going to be on the end of a serious kicking when Wales do that, and it's likely to come soon.
Probably when I'm on the plane to India next weekend or two weeks after and can't watch the game.
Sad tha Duncan and Deniol are on the bench and Adam is not there at all. Only 3 Jones' is no where near enough.

I will shut up now, as a Jock, I better go and get some wood polish!
“They are as good [at this] as anyone in the southern hemisphere. The skill levels are as good as any I have ever seen. They are better than Ireland's and better than in England. They are as good as New Zealand's.”
Warren Gatland on the Welsh squad.

Praise indeed, I dont know whether he is trying to boost the guys, but you must admit that our passing game has been good for a while, add a few less mistakes, especially at set pieces and someone is in for a drubbing.
I too worry about a lack of bulk in the front row for the Italy game. (I admit that Mr. Gatland knows more about it all than me!).

One day, in the not too distant future, Italy will believe that a good win is possible - not just scraping through against Wales and Scotland by a few points, but a serious win!

If only they had beaten boring, boring England.


Book Reviewer
(edited for sobriety)......bloody well done ......I might even tune in to watch the frogs do their thing.

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