Coach Warren Gatland made the same number of changes for the match against Italy last year, which saw Wales run out as 38-14 winners.
They take on an Italian side that will be looking to build on a strong finish against Scotland at Murrayfield last week.
Despite a 33-20 loss, Italy will take confidence from the fact they were able to score three tries and were close to a fourth in the final moments.
Among the 10 players Gatland has brought in for this game, four will be making their 6 Nations debuts. Flankers Thomas Young and Aaron Wainwright, scrum-half Aled Davies, and wing Jonah Holmes will all be making their first appearances in the tournament.
Second-row Alun Wyn Jones has been dropped to the bench, and will hand captaincy duties over to centre Jonathan Davies, who will be leading his country for the first time.
Josh Navidi retains his place in the back-row, but switches to number eight, with lock Adam Beard the only other forward surviving from 24-19 win in Paris.
Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee and Samson Lee form a new-look front row, with Jake Ball joining Beard in second-row.
Dan Biggar starts at fly-half, and Owen Watkin will join skipper Davies in the centres.
George North, who scored twice against the French, has dropped to the bench as he nurses a shoulder injury that has limited his involvement in Wales’ training in Nice this week. He is replaced by debutant Holmes.
Josh Adams and Liam Williams, who also started last week, complete the back three.
Gatland, who was criticised last year for the number of changes he made against Italy, has remained unfazed amid more concern about his team.
“I’ve never been a person who has worried about external influences,” said Gatland.
“People can say, write or imply whatever they like.”
“It doesn’t change the fact that we’ve been put into a role to make what we think are the best decisions.”
“It’s a challenge this year, making changes. Guys have got to go out there and prove themselves.”
Italy have made just two changes from the side that lost at Murrayfield, with Tommaso Castello and Andrea Lovotti dropping out.
Wing Edoardo Padovani starts in place of Castello, meaning Wasps back Michele Campagnaro switches to the centres.
Nicola Quaglio starts at prop ahead of Lovotti.
Captain Sergio Parisse will add to his record 66 appearances in the Championship; he overtook Brian O’Driscoll last week.
Following the defeat to Scotland, Parisse was keen to highlight his sides ability when they are possession, even if they do struggle defensively.
“If we had the possession we are dangerous; we can score tries,” Parisse said.
“I think Scotland deserved the win; they dominated the game, had a lot of possession – more than us – so of course the last ten minutes is a good base to work on for the game next week against Wales.”
Meanwhile Padovani, who scored the second of Italy’s tries last week after coming on as a substitute, has called for his side to continue their discipline against Wales.
“Well, we will have to first improve the performance and keep the discipline under control, which went well with Scotland,” he said.
“Obviously you will need to play a lot more in their half of the field and express a greater volume of play, controlling more possession and above all, as mentioned, managing to be more precise in our performance: especially inside the 22 metres and in the decisive stages of the match.
“Then we need to show ourselves in contact and in the one-on-one, both in attack and defence.”
It is hard to see how Italy will beat Wales on Saturday, despite the wholesale changes Warren Gatland has made. He made the same number of changes last year and Wales won comfortably 38-14.
He is one of the best coaches in the world and it would be foolish to doubt his decision making at this level. The players coming in, though inexperienced, have more than enough ability to overcome the Italians.
It will be interesting to see how the cope without influential captain Alun Wyn Jones, but Jonathan Davies is a capable stand in.
Italy will be hoping that star man Sergio Parisse will be able to rattle the cages of the two inexperienced Wales flankers, who will have to be at their best to keep the marauding number eight quiet.
If Parisse can secure Italy enough ball early on, they will hope they can recreate their flowing attacking rugby from the last 10 minutes in Scotland.
If the young Welsh side then begins to panic, then this game will be far from a foregone conclusion.
Despite this, Wales still have a strong bench, which will be beneficial should this game be closer than Gatland would prefer entering the second half.
Italy are always a stern test, regardless of their finishing position each year in the Six Nations, but the match in Rome may just be another one of their ‘nearly’ moments.
World Rugby applies 50/22 law trial globally, bolster concussion protocol
World Rugby announced on Wednesday five law trials which will start next month, including a so-called “50/22” kicking adaptation.
The 50/22 change allows a team to gain a throw-in inside the opposition’s 22-metre area by kicking the ball to touch with at least one bounce from their own half.
The rule was used in recent Super Rugby tournaments and its primary intention is to “encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed”, according to the sport’s governing body.
The other laws to come into force on a temporary basis from August 1 include a goal-line drop-out if the ball is held up in the in-goal area, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in the same area or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal.
There are also restrictions on attacking players latching onto team-mates from a ruck and clean-outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs at the breakdown.
The final trial allows for a one-player latch before contact, but the individual must “observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet”.
World Rugby has also moved to strengthen concussion protocols, with independent specialists set to review cases when Test players return to action after a head injury.
They will launch a panel of Independent Concussion Consultants (ICCs) to provide expert opinion on whether players are ready to return to action after head knocks.
The global governing body will fully fund the process for Test-level competitions, with ICCs asked to rule when players look to return to action 10 days or fewer after a concussion or on players deemed higher risk due to previous head-injury history.
England name 8 new caps for USA clash
Eddie Jones has named his England team for this weekend’s Test match against USA.
Eight uncapped players are set to make their debuts at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 4 July (2pm KO).
Lewis Ludlow will captain the side at blind-side flanker, with Sam Underhill at open-side flanker and Callum Chick at No.8.
Ellis Genge (loose-head prop) will be vice-captain and is joined by Curtis Langdon (hooker) and Joe Heyes (tight-head prop) in the front row.
Locks Josh McNally and Charlie Ewels complete the tight five.
Henry Slade, the most-capped player in the squad, will be at outside centre with Ollie Lawrence at inside centre. Marcus Smith will start at fly half and Harry Randall is at scrum half.
Freddie Steward is at full back, while Max Malins (left) and Joe Cokanasiga (right) are on the wings in attack.
Among the finishers there are four further uncapped players who could make their first appearance for England – Jamie Blamire, Trevor Davison, Ben Curry and Jacob Umaga. Beno Obano, Ted Hill, Lewis Ludlam and Dan Robson are also named as finishers.
Jones said: “Over the past three weeks our biggest message to the players is what an opportunity this is to show what they can do and make their mark with England.
“They’ve applied themselves as a group and worked very hard individually during this camp to reach their personal bests.
“Now it’s all about coming together as a team, gelling and putting in a good performance at the weekend.”
England v USA is live on Channel 4, with coverage starting from 1.30pm.
England XV Starters
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
14. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 38 caps)
12. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 6 caps)
11. Max Malins (Saracens, 7 caps)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, uncapped)
9. Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, uncapped)
1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 28 caps)
2. Curtis Langdon (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
3. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
4. Josh McNally (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 21 caps)
6. Lewis Ludlow (C) (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 22 caps)
8. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
17. Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
18. Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
19. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)
20. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
21. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 8 caps)
22. Dan Robson (Wasps, 12 caps)
23. Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)
James Ryan starts for Ireland v Japan
The Ireland coaching team have named the Ireland match day squad to face Japan at the Aviva Stadium in the opening fixture of the Vodafone Summer Series.
James Ryan will wear the captain’s armband on Saturday and will be partnered in the second row by Ultan Dillane.
Peter O’Mahony starts on the blindside flank and is joined in the backrow by Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris, who makes his international return after missing the 2021 Six Nations Championships.
The front row is made up of Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher and Finlay Bealham.
The replacements include Rob Herring, Ed Byrne, John Ryan, Ryan Baird, the uncapped Gavin Coombes, Craig Casey, Billy Burns and Shane Daly.
Last weekend Jamie Joseph’s Brave Blossoms made the British and Irish Lions work hard for their 28-10 victory in Murrayfield.
Five Ireland players – Chris Farrell, Jacob Stockdale, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony and James Ryan started against Japan in the last encounter between the two sides at the 2019 Rugby World Cup with Dave Kilcoyne, Joey Carbery and Jordan Larmour featuring off the bench that day in Shizuoka.
The match will be televised by RTE (ROI) Channel 4 (NI) and kicks off at 1.00pm.
Vodafone Summer Series 2021
Ireland team to play Japan – 3rd July 2021, Aviva Stadium
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 11 caps
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 29 caps
13. Chris Farrell (Munster/Young Munster) 14 caps
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 4 caps
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 34 caps
10. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 22 caps
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 9 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 43 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 11 caps
3. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 14 caps
4. Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 18 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 35 caps captain
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 75 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 31 caps
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 21 caps
17. Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 4 caps
18. John Ryan (Munster/Cork Constitution) 23 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 3 caps
20. Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) uncapped
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 1 cap
22. Billy Burns (Ulster) 6 caps
23. Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Constitution) 1 cap
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