Prydie handed shock Wales call-up

Ospreys teenager Tom Prydie has won a shock call-up to the Wales team for Saturday's RBS Six Nations Championship finale against Italy in Cardiff.

Wing Prydie, at just 18 years and 27 days, will become the youngest Welsh international player of all time.

Prydie replaces Cardiff Blues' Leigh Halfpenny as one of five changes from the side that crashed 27-12 defeat against triple crown-chasing Ireland three days ago.

Wales coach Warren Gatland welcomes back three fit-again British and Irish Lions in scrum-half Mike Phillips, prop Gethin Jenkins and skipper Ryan Jones, who replaces Gloucester's Gareth Delve.

And there is a first Six Nations start for 21-year-old Cardiff flanker Sam Warburton, who is preferred to 95-times capped veteran Martyn Williams.

Both Williams and scrum-half Richie Rees, who has been replaced by Phillips, failed to win a place on the bench as Wales look for a winning finish to what has been a hugely disappointing Six Nations campaign.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said of Prydie: "Tom has been with us for the duration of the campaign, he was one of two youngsters - brought in alongside Kristian Phillips - who we wanted to have a look at and we've been impressed with him.

"We heard some good things about him from his region and from the coaches at under 18 level and he has lived up to that, as has Kristian as well.

Prydie will break Cardiff player Norman Biggs' 112-year record and become Wales' youngest player by 24 days.

He also made history as the youngest player to play in Europe when - aged just 17 - he made his Heineken Cup bow in December for the Ospreys against Viadana.

"He is the fastest player in the squad, he can play at full back as well as on the wing and he is not afraid to tackle so we'll see how he goes," continued Gatland.

The previous youngest player in the 6 Nations before Prydie was Mathew Tait (England) two days before his 19th birthday.

Gatland explained: "We have an eye on the future as well with the selection of Sam Warburton in the back row, but both players come into the side alongside players who will also add experience and leadership.

"We are under no illusion that Italy will be a tough prospect on Saturday, we found it hard to break them down here two years ago and they have performed well in each game of the tournament so far and with a good win over Scotland under their belts we will be a target for them.

"We are all very disappointed and we need to demonstrate our passion and pride in the Welsh jersey on Saturday and show everyone what it means to us to play for our country."

Wales team to play Italy in RBS Six Nations Championship in Cardiff on Saturday:

L Byrne (Ospreys), T Prydie (Ospreys), J Hook (Ospreys), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), J Thomas (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt).

Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), P James (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), G Delve (Gloucester), D Peel (Sale Sharks), A Bishop (Ospreys), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues).