Wales flanker Dan Lydiate has been awarded the captaincy by head coach Warren Gatland in the absence of Sam Warburton.

As Gatland announced his squad ahead of the final clash of this year’s RBS Six Nations championship against Italy at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, the New Zealand-born coach confirmed that Warburton would be absent through injury after suffering a concussion on Saturday against England at Twickenham.

As reported by the BBC, Wales have made four changes in total to the side that lost 25-21 last weekend as Justin Tipuric comes in to replace the injured Warburton whilst Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb makes his return to the international scene to make his first start for Wales since September in place of Gareth Davies.

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Reflecting on last weekend’s defeat, Gatland said:

This weekend it is all about finishing off the tournament well and putting in a big performance.

It’s good to see Rhys [Webb] back and starting, it’s a good opportunity for him. Saturday is a good chance for some of the players to redeem themselves and we are looking for a big performance.

I’ve been involved in a couple of times when Dan [Lydiate] has captained the midweek sides and he jumped at the opportunity this weekend and it will be good to see how he goes.

Injuries have also forced Gatland to call up lock Luke Charteris and winger Hallam Amos as both Alun Wyn Jones and Alex Cuthbert are absent with injury.

Wales XV to face Italy:

Liam Williams; Hallam Amos, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Rob Evans, Scott Baldwin, Samson Lee, Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate (capt), Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements:

Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins, Aaron Jarvis, Jake Ball, Ross Moriarty, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Gareth Anscombe.

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