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Wales captain Sam Warburton will miss Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Italy in Cardiff with a knee injury.

The 23-year-old is replaced at seven by Justin Tipuric. Jamie Roberts plays despite concerns over his fitness, while lock Luke Charteris starts on the replacements bench after returning from injury.

Prop Gethin Jenkins will lead the side in Warburton’s absence. Hooker and former captain Matthew Rees returns to the team at the expense of Ken Owens.

Wales’ Twickenham hero Scott Williams must make do with a place among the replacements. Fans of Betfair rugby union will be keeping a close eye on things.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is excited by the prospect of seeing the formidable front row of Jenkins, Rees and Adam Jones reunited at the Millennium Stadium.

“Due to injuries to all three players at one time or another we have not been able to field this 2009 Lions front row too often,” said Gatland.

“So, although we are more than happy with the job Ken has done for us, we are giving Matthew the opportunity to make his contribution as the competition reaches its climax.”

A Welsh win in Cardiff would set up a potential Six Nations decider against France on the final weekend of the championship.

Gatland is looking forward to playing on home soil and has warned his side against complacency. Those looking at the Betfair Rugby Betting Odds need to bear this in mind.

“We are back at the Millennium Stadium in front of our home fans and we need to refocus sharply, after our Triple Crown triumph at Twickenham, if we are to give ourselves the best chance of being in contention for the Championship going into that final weekend against France,” added Gatland.

Wales are just two games away from a third Grand Slam in eight years and exacting revenge on France after their World Cup heartache in New Zealand.


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