Six Nations 2013: Wales will keep same team v Italy - Rob Howley
Last updated on .From the section Welsh Rugby
Rob Howley has given a vote of confidence to the Wales team that beat France by announcing the same XV will start the next Six Nations clash against Italy on 23 February.
It means championship captain Sam Warburton, who missed the Paris match with an injury, will miss out.
Howley said: "I have told the players the same fifteen will start in Italy.
"I think it is pretty important from a coach's perspective that we reward the players who've gone out on the field."
He added: "I thought Ryan Jones was outstanding in terms of his leadership and it is a just reward that he captains the side against Italy."
Jones took over the captaincy after Warburton had led Wales in the 30-22 defeat by Ireland in the first round of matches.
Warburton's open-side slot went to Justin Tipuric, who had an impressive game in an effective Welsh back row as France were beaten 16-6 - ending a run of eight successive defeats for Wales.
Howley said he had told all the players of his decision to stick with the same starting line up on Tuesday morning - one week ahead of the scheduled team announcement.
He added that he had discussed the move with Warburton directly.
"Obviously I've spoken to Sam," he said.
"He has taken it very positively. Obviously he stays with us, he's part of the squad, and he'll be a fantastic captain in years to come.
"But for this game, on the back of our performance in France I think it's important that we said same again."
Lock Alun Wyn Jones, who returned to action for the Ospreys on Friday night, was called back into the 36-man Wales squad on Tuesday.
But the Wales and Lions second row can now only expect to make the replacements' bench in Rome.
Howley said that players outside the starting XV could be released to play for their regions this weekend.
Players based outside Wales have already been released back to their clubs, including Bayonne scrum half Mike Phillips and Toulon prop Gethin Jenkins, who both started against France.
Wales: L Halfpenny, A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North, D Biggar, M Phillips; G Jenkins, R Hibbard, A Jones, A Coombs, I Evans, R Jones (captain), J Tipuric, T Faletau.
Would like to see Byrne at fullback at some point, has been playing really well at club level and his angles of running could really add something to the attack.
Would also like to see Williams at 9 for a full half, not just 10mins
Lloyd Williams scrum half has got to be the way to go, it is a simple game get the ball out to the backs.
Lastly WRU should take steps to ensure that the players sing the anthem with conviction it is not all about tactics it is about pride and dog.
Compulsory reading for all Welsh international Dai Morris' book The Shadow shows what commitment is all about.
Think people have really short memories here. Wasn't long ago when everyone wanted to drop Hook.
Yes, Phillips is not a natural 9 in the traditional sense but he offers (to quote a cliche) the X factor.I think Williams has been steady but not offered a great deal.If your forwards are losing the contact then any scrumhalf will look off form.
Hook is better used off the bench - change game if needed.
Great player to have available on the bench, he will be needed.
That is definitely your theory mate. No one else's.
"Howley said: "I have told the players the same fifteen will start in Italy."
To me this is a vague inhouse statement, there are other factors to consider, like input from other coaches. Wait for the official announcement bfore passing judgement.
@104 Yes lets.... cant wait for Wales to snatch the championship from the clutches of England!!
You mean after England blow the Grand Slam on Mar 16...