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Rugby | International Rugby

Wales drop Warburton for Samoa test



Six Nations champions Wales have reacted to their home defeat to Argentina on Saturday by dropping captain Sam Warburton to the bench among wholesale changes to their team to face Samoa on Friday.

The flanker, who led Wales to the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup and the Six Nations grand slam earlier this year, is replaced by Justin Tipuric - one of eight changes to the side that started the 26-12 loss to the Pumas at theMillennium Stadium.

Interim coach Rob Howley said the side needed freshening up after they suffered their fourth successive defeat.

"With a short, six-day turnaround it was important for us to freshen things up and also make use of the competition for places we have within this squad, something which has been a key ingredient for the success of the squad over the last 18 months," Howley said in a Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) statement.

Former skipper Ryan Jones will take over the armband for a record 29th time, surpassing Ieuan Evans.

Jones comes in for the injured Josh Turnbull at blindside and lock Bradley Davies replaces Alun Wyn Jones. Turnbull, who suffered medial ligament damage to his knee, and Wyn Jones (shoulder) will take no further part in the November internationals.

In other changes to the pack, hooker Richard Hibbard starts in the front row in place of Matthew Rees, and Paul James comes in at prop for Gethin Jenkins.

In the backs, scrumhalf Mike Phillips starts with Tavis Knoyle dropped to the bench, Dan Biggar takes the flyhalf jersey from Rhys Priestland and Ashley Beck is in for Scott Williams at centre.

"We know we are under pressure to perform and that pressure is greatest from within," added Howley.

"This squad has shown in the past that we have the character and resilience to get back to winning ways. We have every confidence that we will come back strongly on Friday night."

WALES: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Ashley Beck, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips, 8-Toby Faletau, 7-Justin Tipuric, 6-Ryan Jones, 5-Ian Evans, 4-Bradley Davies, 3-Aaron Jarvis, 2-Richard Hibbard, 1-Paul James

Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Gethin Jenkins, 18-Scott Andrews, 19-Luke Charteris, 20-Sam Warburton, 21-Tavis Knoyle, 22-Rhys Priestland, 23-Scott Williams

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