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Jenkins to lead Wales in decider

Thu, 14 Mar 2013 13:38
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The players worked hard to put themselves in this position
Quote-end

Gethin Jenkins returns from injury to lead Wales against England in the Six Nations decider in Cardiff on Saturday.

He is one of two personnel changes to the side that beat Scotland last weekend, with Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) also named in the starting XV.

Jenkins has recovered from a calf injury that ruled him out of the victory at Murrayfield and will win his 98th cap when he captains Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

He comes back into the front row and will line up once again alongside Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones (both Ospreys).

Ospreys duo Alun Wyn Jones and Ian Evans continue their partnership in the second row with the latter featuring in his 10th consecutive Six Nations match.

In the absence of captain Ryan Jones in the back row, Sam Warburton (Blues) switches to blindside flank with Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) coming in to wear the No.7 shirt alongside Toby Faletau (Dragons) at No.8.

Wales' 28-18 victory in Edinburgh set a new Welsh record for consecutive away victories in the tournament and the consistency continues in the selection with interim head coach Rob Howley naming the same back line that has started each Six Nations game this season.

Mike Phillips (Bayonne) will become Wales' most capped scrumhalf when he wins his 77th cap, surpassing Dwayne Peel's previous record of 76.  Phillips will partner Dan Biggar (Ospreys) at halfback.

Jamie Roberts (Blues) and Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) line up in the centre with Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), Alex Cuthbert (Blues) and George North (Scarlets) making up the back three.

Wales' experienced side features 12 players who started the Grand Slam decider against France last season.

"The players have worked very hard to put themselves in this position for Saturday, with three hard fought victories on the road," said Howley.

"Gethin comes back in and will captain the side and his leadership will be invaluable.

"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."

Bath prop Paul James takes his place amongst the replacements and the only other change sees Aaron Shingler come in to replace Tipuric.

Wales: 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 Sam Warburton, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Ian Evans, 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.

Date: Saturday, March 16
Venue: Millenium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17.00 (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

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