Rhys Webb starts for Wales against Italy

Rhys Webb one of six changes to Wales team for Italy clash
Rhys Webb one of six changes to Wales team for Italy clash

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to the starting line up for the fourth round Six Nations clash against Italy.

Rhys Webb will make his first Six Nations start since 2017 as he starts at scrum half at the expense of Tomos Williams, who now moves to the bench.

Joining Williams on the bench will be Louis Rees-Zammit and George North with Rio Dyer coming at left wing to join Josh Adams at right. Mason Grady and Joe Hawkins have retained their midfield positions along with Owen Williams donning the number 10 jersey.

Leigh Halfpenny misses out on the selection as Liam Williams starts at fullback while Wyn Jones returns at front row replacing Gareth Thomas.

The second row also sees a change with Dafydd Jenkins coming into the XV replacing former skipper Alun Wyn Jones.

The final change sees Jac Morgan replacing Christ Tshinuza at blindside.

"We feel that having watched Italy and how they'll tend to play from everywhere, including their own 22, getting guys on the ball is going to be pretty important," said Gatland.

"Rhys Webb gets an opportunity at nine having been training well. He's been great in the squad, he brings that experience and a voice to that nine position.

"Liam Williams comes in at full back. We did discuss whether we put Louis Rees-Zammit to full back and how that would have looked.

"But he still hasn't played a lot of rugby in terms of coming back from a relatively long injury with his ankle and we just felt with the way the game's going to be and the pace of the game, that him coming off the bench and the impact he can have could be pretty important."

Wales XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Mason Grady, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Jac Morgan, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Wyn Jones

Reserves: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 George North, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit