Six Nations 2018: Faletau surprised by Wales captaincy chance

Taulupe Faletau of Wales is tackled by Malcolm Marx (L) and Wilco Louw during the rugby union international match between Wales and South Africa at the Principality Stadium on December 2, 2017
Six Nations: Wales v Italy
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Sunday, 11 March Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Taulupe Faletau says he was surprised to be handed the Wales captaincy for Sunday's Six Nations match with Italy in Cardiff.

The 27-year-old returns from injury to lead his country for the first time.

"I was a bit stunned! But after thinking about it, it's something I would probably regret not doing, so the obvious answer was yes," he explained.

"I'm looking forward to it definitely. It is a huge honour, and I am grateful to have the opportunity."

The Bath number eight, who has won 70 Wales caps, says he has been largely unaffected by his extra leadership duties this week.

"I've had to say a few more things now and again, but all in all, it has been pretty much the same approach to a Test game.

"Hopefully my actions will do the talking.

"The boys have trained well this week, the team run was pretty sharp, and hopefully we can take that into tomorrow.

"My message will be to work on what we've been doing in training and express yourself.

"When you look at the team we've got and the talent there, it's about showcasing that tomorrow," he told BBC Sport Wales.

The British and Irish Lions back row has been out for more than two months after injuring knee ligaments in December and is keen to make a mark on his return.

"It's good to be back out there with the boys and to be given the opportunity to play again is awesome.

"Hopefully we can get a good performance and result.

"There are a lot of positives we can take from all the games the boys have played so far.

"We will be looking to build on that, and hopefully get a good result and a good performance tomorrow."

Faletau will line up in the back row alongside experienced Ospreys flanker Justin Tipuric and debutant Scarlets openside James Davies.

"They (Tipuric and Davies) are both quality players. They bring something different to the table, and I am looking forward to linking up wit them tomorrow," he added.

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