Gethin Jenkins to skipper Wales in Grand Slam decider
GETHIN JENKINS will captain Wales in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations title decider against Grand Slam-chasing England at the Millennium Stadium.
The 32-year-old Toulon prop has recovered from a calf muscle injury to win his 98th cap. He replaces Paul James in the front-row and takes leadership duties instead of flanker Ryan Jones.
Jones broke a bone in his shoulder during last weekend's victory over Scotland, and he is replaced in the back-row by Justin Tipuiric, with Sam Warburton wearing Wales' number six shirt.
Wales boss Rob Howley has decided for a second successive game not to reinstall Warburton - last season's Grand Slam skipper - as captain, preferring instead to let him concentrate on his own game.
That approach worked a treat at Murrayfield five days ago when Warburton delivered a towering man-of-the-match display.
Two changes on the bench from Edinburgh see James replacing Ryan Bevington and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler featuring instead of a promoted Tipuric.
The victory over Scotland set a Wales record of five successive Six Nations away wins, although the reigning champions have not won a Test match at the Millennium Stadium this season.
Howley has named an unchanged back division for the fifth game running, with Mike Phillips making his 77th Test match appearance to become Wales' most capped scrum-half.
And the centre partnership of Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts make their 14th championship appearance together, passing the previous Wales best held by Ray Gravell and Steve Fenwick.
Wales will retain the title if they beat by England by seven points - and stay ahead of them on overall try-count - or eight points and above, when try-count becomes irrelevant.
England, meanwhile, are chasing a first Grand Slam since 2003, with none of their previous 12 tournament clean sweeps having been achieved in Cardiff.
The Wales team features 12 players who started last season's Grand Slam clincher against France and boasts a combined tally of more than 600 caps.
Howley said: "The players have worked very hard to put themselves in this position for Saturday, with three hard-fought victories on the road.
"Gethin comes back in and will captain the side. His leadership will be invaluable.
"Saturday is a big finale for the tournament, but we have a very experienced squad that has been in this position before and that has played in big games. That will be important, come kick-off."
Team: L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Toulon, capt), R Hibbard (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Bath), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), A Coombs (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Shingler (Scarlets), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).