Rhys Webb will replace Lloyd Williams on the replacements bench for Wales’ RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (Kick-off 2.30pm).
Ospreys scrum-half Webb was named in the pre-tournament training camp which travelled to Gdansk, Poland, at the end of January, but has yet to make his international debut. Blues scrum-half Williams has withdrawn from the game due to a thigh strain, which he picked up this week during Welsh preparations at the WRU National Centre of Excellence at the Vale Resort, Hensol.
Webb, 23, is now in his fifth season at the Ospreys, having cut his teeth in domestic rugby at Bridgend Athletic in the WRU National Leagues. He won the Reebok Regional Championship trophy with the Ospreys U18 during the 2005-2006 season and was a losing finalist with the Ospreys U20 during the 2006-2007 season.
He also played for Wales U18 in the 2005-2006 U18 Home Four Nations Championship and was a member of the 2006-2007 Wales U19 set up for the IRB U19 World Championships, playing alongside Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny and Ryan Bevington. He then joined the same trio at the Junior World Championships at Under 20 level the next year when the tournament was hosted by Wales. The talented Ospreys scrum half was also a member of the Wales World Sevens Cup winning squad in Dubai in 2009.
Although tickets for the Azzurri’s visit to Cardiff are still selling in their hundreds on a daily basis, with 74,500 seats the Millennium Stadium still has capacity. Tickets are available online at wru.co.uk and ticketlineuk.com or from the telephone hotline 02920 230130.
WALES: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; Rhys Priestland, Michael Phillips; Gethin Jenkins (C), Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau
REPLACEMENTS: Ken Owens, Paul James, Luke Charteris, Ryan Jones, Rhys Webb, James Hook, Scott Williams