Milestones for Welsh legends
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS: Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones will both achieve major milestones in Wales’ Six Nations clash against Italy on Saturday.
Alun Wyn Jones is poised to collect cap number 150 for Wales – an ongoing world record – after the 36-year-old was named in the starting line-up for the first time since October following a shoulder injury.
Biggar retains the captaincy and will become the seventh Welshman to win 100 caps for his country.
He follows Alun Wyn Jones, Gethin Jenkins, Stephen Jones, George North, Martyn Williams and Gareth Thomas.
Coach Wayne Pivac said the pair had been “huge” players for Wales.
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“We’ve said with other players reaching 100 appearances what an achievement that is and for Dan I know he’s been looking forward to this moment for a long time,” Pivac said.
“For him to achieve it with Al, who is also getting the milestone of 150 caps – which no other player has ever done – I think it’s fitting for those two to share the day.”
Pivac has made seven changes to the team beaten 13-9 by France in an attritional match last Friday.
Johnny McNicholl, Louis Rees-Zammit, Willis Halaholo and Gareth Davies are recalled in the backline, while Dewi Lake, Dillon Lewis and Alun Wyn Jones are the forwards to come in.
Italy is winless in this season’s tournament while Wales have just one victory.
Wales: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Uilisi Halaholo, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar (captain), 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Seb Davies, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Roberts, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Nick Tompkins.
Date: Saturday, March 19
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 14.15 (15.15 Italain time; 14.15 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Tual Trainini (France)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)