Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Warburton out as Wales remain unchanged for Italy game
LONDON (Reuters) - Wales have kept faith with the team that beat France last weekend for their next Six Nations match against Italy, the Welsh Rugby Union said on Tuesday.
Interim head coach Rob Howley has made an early decision not to make any changes for the February 23 clash in Rome, which means there will be no place for regular captain Sam Warburton.
The flanker missed the 16-6 win in Paris on Saturday after suffering a shoulder injury in the opening defeat by Ireland.
"On the back of the performance at the weekend, we have decided to reward the players who took to the field and the same XV who started in Paris will start against Italy," Howley said in a statement.
"It's a reward for their performance. We talked about attitude, determination and resilience and a side that comes up with a win out in France, which is not an easy place to win on any occasion, deserves to start the next match."
Ryan Jones captained the side in Warburton's absence as Wales ended a run of eight consecutive defeats and won their first match in Paris since 2005.
"I thought Ryan (Jones) was outstanding in terms of his leadership and he will captain the side against Italy," Howley added.
"Sam (Warburton) is still feeling the stinger to some extent but it has improved but I just want to clarify that the team comes first and the way the team played, they deserve to start again."
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ed Osmond)