Wales flanker Sam Warburton dropped to bench for Friday clash against Samoa

Last Updated: 14/11/12 1:55pm

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Sam Warburton: Dropped to bench for Samoa clash

Sam Warburton: Dropped to bench for Samoa clash

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Wales have dropped Sam Warburton from their starting line-up for Friday's clash with Samoa at the Millennium Stadium.

The Cardiff Blues flanker will be among the replacements as head coach Rob Howley rings the changes following the disappointing 26-12 defeat to Argentina last weekend.

Ospreys openside Justin Tipuric has been preferred to Warburton, who captained the side at last year's World Cup and then led them to Grand Slam glory in the Six Nations.

Back-row forward Ryan Jones will skipper Wales for a record 29th time, while centre Ashley Beck, fly-half Dan Biggar, scrum-half Mike Phillips, prop Paul James, hooker Richard Hibbard and lock Bradley Davies all make the starting XV.

Jamie Roberts has also retained his place at centre despite being taken off in the first half against Argentina with what the Welsh Rugby Union described as mild concussion.

Howley said: "With a short six-day turnaround it was important for us to freshen things up and also make use of the competition for places we have within this squad.

"In making changes, we also needed to bring in some genuine experience. It is important to have leaders throughout the team, and we are hoping the likes of Mike Phillips can bring his experience to the side.

"Ryan reaches an impressive personal milestone. It will be a huge honour for him, but in the context of what happened last week his and the team's priorities are about producing a performance.

"We know we are under pressure to perform, and that pressure is greatest from within.

"This squad has shown in the past that we have the character and resilience to get back to winning ways. We have every confidence that we will come back strongly on Friday night."

Wales: Halfpenny, Cuthbert, Beck, Roberts, North, Biggar, Phillips; James, Hibbard, Jarvis, Davies, Evans, R Jones, J Tipuric, Faletau.
Replacements: Owens, Jenkins, Andrews, Charteris, Warburton, Knoyle, Priestland, Williams.

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