Gatland brings back big game players for Ireland

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The Independent Online

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has reinstated his big guns for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations title decider against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium.

Gatland's second string players failed to impress in a stuttering win over Italy in Rome on Saturday so back come prop Gethin Jenkins, lock Ian Gough and flanker Martyn Williams.

Centre Tom Shanklin is also back to revivehis 2005 and 2008 Grand Slam midfield partnership with Gavin Henson.

Shanklin'sCardiff Blues colleague Jamie Roberts has to make do with a place on the bench after starting this championship looking like a potential Lions Test player.

James Hook is replaced at fly-half by the more experienced Stephen Jones.

In the forwards, only lock Alun-Wyn Jones and number eight Andy Powell remain from Rome,

The established front-row of Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones is reunited with Gough replacing Luke Charteris, Williams taking over from Dafydd Jones and Ryan Jones in for Jonathan Thomas.

Roberts, Hook, Charteris, Dafydd Jones, hooker Huw Bennett and prop John Yapp.

Gatland said: "I don't mind admitting we have left ourselves with a lot to do to win the championship.

"But, on the other hand, the 13-point deficit is by no means insurmountable.

"There is also a Triple Crown at stake and we know only too well in Wales that Grand Slams don't come cheaply.

"We've won two Grand Slams in the last decade and so all the pressure will be on Ireland to grab only the second in their history.

"With a healthy head start you have to say Ireland are probably favourites to take the title, but we are confident we can come up with a win.

"And who knows what will happen if we can get ourselves ahead in the game and that Millennium Stadium factor begins to kick in."

Wales team to play Ireland in their Six Nations championship match at Millennium stadium, Cardiff on Saturday (1730 GMT).

15-Lee Byrne, 14-Mark Jones, 13-Tom Shanklin, 12-Gavin Henson, 11-Shane Williams, 10-Stephen Jones, 9-Mike Phillips; 8-Andy Powell, 7-Martyn Williams, 6-Ryan Jones (captain), 5-Alun-Wyn Jones, 4-Ian Gough, 3-Adam Jones, 2-Matthew Rees, 1-Gethin Jenkins.

Replacements: 16-Huw Bennett, 17-John Yapp, 18-Luke Charteris, 19-Dafydd Jones, 20-Warren Fury, 21-James Hook, 22-Jamie Roberts