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Rugby | Six Nations

Sam Warburton © Gallo Images

No Wales recall for Warburton v Italy



Wales captain Sam Warburton will have to wait for a recall after interim coach Rob Howley said on Tuesday he would name an unchanged XV for the champions' Six Nations clash away to Italy next week.

Cardiff flanker Warburton missed Saturday's 16-6 victory over France on Saturday – a win that ended a run of eight straight Wales defeats – after suffering a shoulder injury in the first round loss to Ireland.

Ospreys flanker Ryan Jones took over the captaincy in Paris with Justin Tipuric filling Warburton's openside flanker berth.,

And their performances means Warburton won't be rushed back into the starting side, even if he recovers fully from his 'stinger' injury.

"I have told the players the same XV will start in Italy," Howley said.

"I think it is pretty important from a coach's perspective that we reward the players who have gone out on the field," the former Wales scrumhalf 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."

Warburton, who has struggled of late to find the form he demonstrated during Wales' run to the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup, could be on the bench.

"Sam is better, he is still feeling the stinger to some extent but I wanted clarity," Howley explained.

"In terms of preparation, the team comes first. What I don't want is to wait on medical opinions, and the way the team went on the weekend they deserve to start again.

"It is a reward for the performance. We have talked about the determination, the attitude and resilience, and that is what you reward a side for when they come up with a win in France, which is not easy to get on any occasion."

Howley has also called lock Alun Wyn Jones into his squad, with the Ospreys second row sidelined since suffering a shoulder injury in Wales's defeat by Argentina in November.

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