Thursday, March 14, 2013
Prop Jenkins to captain Wales against England
(Reuters) - Prop Gethin Jenkins returns from a calf injury to captain Wales in the absence of Ryan Jones for Saturday's Six Nations decider against England at the Millennium Stadium (05:00 p.m. British time).
Jenkins, who missed last weekend's 28-18 win over Scotland, was preferred to flanker Sam Warburton who led Wales to the grand slam year.
"Gethin comes back in and will captain the side and his leadership will be invaluable," Wales interim coach Rob Howley said in a statement on Thursday.
Jones misses the match after breaking a shoulder bone against Scotland.
Paul James drops to the replacements to make room for Jenkins, who will win his 98th cap, while Justin Tipuric comes in as openside flanker for Jones in the only other change to the team that won at Murrayfield.
Warburton will switch to blindside flanker and Aaron Shingler replaces Tipuric on the bench.
Wales will retain their Six Nations title if they win by at least eight points, or seven so long as England do not outscore them by three tries.
With 12 players in the side that started last year's grand slam decider against France, Howley is relying on experience as Wales attempt to cap a magnificent turnaround after losing their opening home match against Ireland 30-22.
It was their eighth defeat in a row but since then Wales have beaten France, Italy and Scotland on the road to become the first Welsh team to win five successive matches away from home in the tournament.
"Saturday is a big finale for the tournament but we have a very experienced squad, who have been in this position before, that have played in big games and that will be important come kick-off," Howley said.
"The players have worked very hard to put themselves in this position for Saturday, with three hard-fought victories on the road."
Team: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips, 8-Toby Faletau, 7-Justin Tipuric, 6-Sam Warburton, 5-Ian Evans, 4-Alun Wyn Jones, 3-Adam Jones, 2-Richard Hibbard, 1-Gethin Jenkins (Captain)
Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Paul James, 18-Scott Andrews, 19-Andrew Coombs, 20-Aaron Shingler, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-James Hook, 23-Scott Williams.
(Writing by Alison Wildey in London; Editing by Ed Osmond)