Six Nations 2014: Sam Warburton back to captain Wales 'after 15 minutes'

 

Sam Warburton will once again lead out Wales on Saturday, after being recalled to the starting line-up against Ireland in Dublin despite playing just 15 minutes of rugby in the past nine weeks.

A lack of match fitness meant Warburton, back from a shoulder injury picked up in the autumn, started last weekend's 23-15 victory over Italy on the bench but, after replacing Dan Lydiate late in the second half, he insisted he was ready to return full-time.

Warburton is one of three changes from the opening weekend, his recall meaning Justin Tipuric drops to the bench. A hamstring injury has forced Luke Charteris out of the match-day squad altogether, with Alex Coombes taking his place.

The only other change in the starting XV is Gethin Jenkins, not risked as a fitness precaution against the Azzurri, earning his 102nd cap for his country in place of Paul James. Meanwhile, uncapped lock Jake Ball is among the replacements.

Warburton, who will give the honour of leading out the side to Leigh Halfpenny for his 50th Test for Wales, insisted his injury lay-off will have no impact as the visitors look to stretch their remarkable away record in the Six Nations to six straight victories. "I'm quite used to not playing for a few months and getting back into it," he said. "It maybe takes a game to get the breakdown. I'm glad I've had that, to get rid of the cobwebs. I feel quite good."

The last time the home side won this fixture was in 2011 when Wales were victorious 19-13 at the Millennium Stadium. Since then, both sides have recorded an away win each, Ireland coming out on top 30-22 in Cardiff last year.

Gatland, for his part, is hopeful that sequence of events will continue on Saturday. "Ireland against Wales has tended to favour the away side," he said. "Hopefully we can do that again."

Gatland, who coached Ireland from 1998 to 2001, has called on his players to be "directors" against the Irish and to employ the sort of direct game that was lacking in the first half when the sides last met.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)