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Six Nations: Captain Sam Warburton returns to the Wales starting XV for Dublin trip

Last Updated: 04/02/14 10:04pm

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Sam Warburton: Replaces Justin Tipuric at openside flanker

Sam Warburton: Replaces Justin Tipuric at openside flanker

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Wales skipper Sam Warburton has been restored to the starting line-up for Saturday's Six Nations clash with Ireland.

The Cardiff Blues flanker came off the bench during last weekend's win over Italy and is one of three changes to the starting line-up as he comes in for Justin Tipuric.

Gethin Jenkins will win his 102nd cap with Paul James dropping to the bench, while Dragons second row Andrew Coombs comes in for the injured Luke Charteris, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

"We haven't lost an away match in the Six Nations since 2011 and we have to have the belief and confidence that we can do it again this weekend."
Warren Gatland

The backline remains unchanged for the trip to Dublin, with Mike Phillips and Rhys Priestland retained at half-back.

Leigh Halfpenny will win his 50th cap at the Aviva Stadium and lines up in a back three alongside Alex Cuthbert and George North for the 12th successive Six Nations game.

Loosehead James will also reach a half-century of caps if he comes off the bench and he is joined among the replacements by uncapped Scarlets lock Jake Ball, who is named in the match-day squad for the first time.

Tough

"It's great to bring Sam and Gethin back into the side and it's a good opportunity for Andrew Coombs to start as well," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"Last weekend was a good hit out for a lot of reasons, but we still have things to work on and we know how important this game is.

"We haven't lost an away match in the Six Nations since 2011 and we have to have the belief and confidence that we can do it again this weekend.

"It's going to be tough, both sides won their opening game, we will have to be physical and take it to them.

"We feel in most tournaments we get stronger as it goes on and that will need to be the case this weekend."

Warburton said: "It was good to get a hit-out just to get the lungs going again, just to feel getting back up off the floor and working hard. You try to replicate that in training.

"It always takes a game to get that timing back, that's why it was good to compete at the breakdown last weekend and get some timing going. It was good to get rid of the cobwebs."

Wales: Halfpenny, Cuthbert, S Williams, Roberts, North, Priestland, Phillips; Jenkins, Hibbard, A Jones, Coombs, AW Jones, Lydiate, Warburton (c), Faletau

Replacements: Owens, James, R Jones, Ball, Tipuric, Webb, Hook, L Williams

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