Warburton returns for Scotland Test
March 5, 2013
Sam Warburton will start against Scotland © Getty Images
Sam Warburton will return to the Wales side at openside for their match against Scotland on Saturday in one of three changes from the team that beat Italy.
Warburton sat out their round two win against France due to injury but despite being fit for their trip to Italy on February 23, interim coach Rob Howley opted to keep the faith with Justin Tipuric at No.7. In Warburton's place Ryan Jones has taken on the captain's armband and he retains it for Saturday's game despite the Cardiff Blues openside's inclusion.
And Howley has also opted to hand Alun-Wyn Jones a recall at the expense of Andrew Coombs. The Scarlets man has started all three of Wales' Six Nations matches but with the experienced Jones now fit to return to the starting line-up, Howley has opted to draft him in.
In the front-row Bath's Paul James starts in place of Gethin Jenkins who has failed to recover from a calf injury he sustained against the Azzurri.
But it is Howley's decision to keep Ryan Jones as captain instead of Warburton that is perhaps the most surprising headline from the team announcement. Howley explained the decision saying: "Ryan has led the team to two wins and deserves to captain the side against Scotland.
"We have had two good, hard-fought away victories but we know will have to be at our best again to come away from Murrayfield with the result. We are bringing in a wealth of experience with Alun Wyn and Sam and they performed well off the bench in Rome.
"It's disappointing for Gethin to miss out but Paul has impressed and made an impact in each game he has played. We have spoken a lot about momentum in this tournament and we go into the game with two wins under our belt but Scotland are in the same position and it's going to be a good challenge."
On the bench Scott Andrews replaces Jenkins while Tipuric and Coombs are also included.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North, Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Ryan Jones (captain), Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau
Replacements: Ken Owens, Scott Andrews, Ryan Bevington, Andrew Coombs, Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship