Wales captain Sam Warburton supports Rob Howley's decision to name the team early
Last Updated: February 19, 2013 3:41pm
Wales star Sam Warburton is expected to be on the bench in Italy
Wales captain Sam Warburton fully supports Rob Howley's decision to name the side to face Italy a week early - despite being dropped.
The Grand Slam champions travel to Rome to take on the Azzurri on Saturday and interim head coach Howley confirmed his side would be unchanged from the XV that sprang a 16-6 upset in France last time out.
Regular captain Warburton, who is hoping to make the British & Irish Lions tour later this year, missed the heroics in Paris because of a shoulder injury and has no qualms about former skipper Ryan Jones and Justin Tipuric keeping their places.
"It was a great win out in France - I thought the team were absolutely awesome," said the 24-year-old Cardiff Blues star.
"I thought it was good when they announced the team early because it has given us extra time to prepare."
"And I thought it was good when they announced the team early because it has given us extra time to prepare.
"It was quite a smart call and we might as well take advantage of this two-week break in Six Nations games. We have had eight or 10 sessions, rather than maybe three, perhaps.
"It should be one of the best-prepared we have been for a match because we have had that extra time together."
On suggestions his Lions chances have been damaged by the situation, he added: "It's something I will just have to bat off.
"I have got enough on my plate at the moment. It (Lions selection) is going to be, for any player involved, a special moment. But no-one is mentioning the 'L' word'.
"The focus in this Six Nations camp is purely on the next match, and if there was any talk on that (Lions), players would be the first ones to give someone a slap in the face."