RBS Six Nations

Howley opts against Wales overhaul for Ireland clash

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has resisted calls to freshen up his team by naming an unchanged line-up for Friday's Six Nations clash with Ireland.

Howley's men host Ireland on the back of consecutive defeats against England and Scotland, and many had expected at least some alterations to be made.

However, the former scrum-half has opted to name an identical matchday 23 to the one that lost 29-13 at Murrayfield last time out.

Sam Davies remains on the bench despite calls for him to replace Ospreys colleague Dan Biggar at fly-half, while Ross Moriarty is once again preferred to Taulupe Faletau.

Leigh Halfpenny at full-back and George North on the wing also keep their places despite disappointing recent performances from two of Wales' biggest names.

"We felt it was important the same group of players had the opportunity to go out and perform on Friday, so we have named an unchanged matchday squad," said Howley.

"Friday is an opportunity for us. There is a lot of experience in our group and you don't become a bad team overnight. We want to show what we can do and that experience will be very important this week.

"We know we need to be more clinical and we need to execute better under pressure and we have been working hard on that during the last few weeks.

"Ireland are one of the in-form sides in world rugby and are coached very well and packed with experience and there are a number of interesting match-up across both teams.

"We always say we are fortunate to have the best supporters in the world and we are eager to put in a performance for them under the lights at Principality Stadium on Friday."

Flanker Justin Tipuric will win his 50th cap.

 

Wales starting XV: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Liam Williams, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty,

Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris, Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Jamie Roberts.