Gloucester No8 Gareth Delve returns to the Welsh startibng XV, replacing injured captain Ryan Jones.
Martyn Williams will captain Wales in the RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday as injured squad captain Ryan Jones has withdrawn and is replaced at No 8 by Gloucester's Gareth Delve.
Delve is one of three changes to the starting line-up with Scarlets and British & Irish Lions hooker Matthew Rees also returning to the side with Osprey Huw Bennett, who started the defeat to France at the Millennium Stadium last time out, moving to the bench. Dragons second row Luke Charteris keeps his spot after coming on for the injured Deiniol Jones (Blues) early in the first half of the Friday night fixture.
Elsewhere Wales head coach Warren Gatland has said 'same again' to his back line for the third game in a row and made two changes on the bench with the inclusion of Sale Sharks scrum half Dwayne Peel in place of Osprey Mike Phillips and lock Ian Gough (Ospreys) taking the berth vacated by Charteris.
"We have taken the decision not to include any players who are unable to take a full part in training in the build up to the Ireland game," said Gatland.
"This Ireland side will be meticulous in its planning and for this game in particular we need to get our preparation exactly right and once we had reached that conclusion a couple of selection decisions were really made for us.
"Ryan has been managing his calf, but it has hampered his involvement in training and he needs to get it right for his own sake as well as for his region, who have some big matches of their own coming up, and for the sake of the national cause as we countdown to the World Cup.
"Mike (Phillips) is carrying a knock which he picked up on Ospreys duty at the weekend and so was not in contention.
"But this is an opportunity for Martyn, who is one of our key leaders, to captain Wales again and rise to that challenge after doing a good job against Scotland last year when Ryan was again forced to withdraw."
Williams captains his country for the 7th time and also wins his 95th cap, making him Wales' most capped forward and now just five appearances behind the country's most capped player Gareth Thomas. It will be Delve's first appearance in a Welsh jersey since the 2nd Test v South Africa in Pretoria on 14 June, 2008 and his first start in the RBS 6 Nations
"This is also a great opportunity for Gareth Delve, who we have been keeping a close eye on and who is also a leader himself. We feel we have a loose forward trio here who can be competitive," Gatland continued.
"Matthew (Rees) comes in for Huw (Bennett) and offers us his experience. We were please with Huw's performance against France, his stats around the field were fantastic, but we are looking for 50 or 60 minutes out of Matthew to maybe give us a little more stability in the set-piece.
"Ireland are an impressive and experienced side with a pack of players who have been around for a long time and who are tough players. We meet them after a good win against England and a loss to France by a score line which probably flattered the French.
"We know we need to improve but we do think we have the talent and ability in this squad to match any squad and confident we are good enough to win this match if we can get things right on the day."
WALES: Lee Byrne; Leigh Halfpenny, James Hook, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Richie Rees; Paul James, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris, Jonathan Thomas, Martyn Williams (Captain), Gareth Delve
REPLACEMENTS: Huw Bennett, Rhys Gill, Ian Gough, Sam Warburton, Dwayne Peel, Andrew Bishop, Tom Shanklin
15 Lee BYRNE (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,041) DoB: 01.06.80. 6'3" / 1.91m. 15st 1lb / 96kgs
International record: 30 caps (W 13, L 16, D 1; 40 pts - 8T)
14 Leigh HALFPENNY (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,060)
DoB: 22.12.88. 5'10" / 1.77m. 12st 11lbs / 81kgs
International record: 13 caps (W 6, L 7; 53 pts - 7T, 6PG)
13 James HOOK (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,047)
DoB: 27.06.85. 6'0" / 1.83m. 14st 10lbs / 93kgs
International record: 40 caps (W 17, L 22, D 1; 214 pts - 7T, 34C, 35PG, 2DG)
12 Jamie ROBERTS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,057)
DoB: 08.11.86. 6'4" / 1.93m. 16st 10lbs / 107kgs
International record: 19 caps (W 9, L 10; 5 pts - 1T)
11 Shane WILLIAMS (OSPREYS - Cap No 976)
DoB: 26.02.77. 5'7" / 1.71m. 12st 11lbs / 81kgs
International record: 71 caps (W 34, L 35, D 2; 250 pts - 50T)
10 Stephen JONES (SCARLETS - Cap No 966) DoB: 08.12.77. 6'1" / 1.86m. 15st 0lbs / 95kgs
International record: 86 caps (W 38, L 46, D 2; 764 pts - 7T, 126C, 154PG, 5DG)
9 Richard REES (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,072)
DoB: 21.05.83. 5'11" / 1.80m. 12st 7lb / 79kgs
International record: 3 caps (W 1, L 2)
1 Paul JAMES (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,021)
DoB: 13.05.82. 6'1" / 1.86m. 18st 4lbs / 116kgs
International record: 8 caps (W 4, L 4)
2 Matthew REES (SCARLETS - Cap No 1,033)
DoB: 09.12.80. 6'0" / 1.83m. 17st 3lbs / 109kgs
International record: 34 caps (W 16, L 17, D 1; 10 pts - 2T)
3 Adam JONES (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,018) DoB: 08.03.81. 6'0" / 1.83m. 19st 10lb / 125kgs
International record: 59 caps (W 30, L 27, D 2; 10 pts - 2T)
4 Bradley DAVIES (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,065) DoB: 09.01.87. 6'6" / 1.98m. 18st 11lbs / 119kgs
International record: 8 caps (W 5, L 3)
5 Luke CHARTERIS (NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS - Cap No 1,030) DoB: 09.03.83. 6'9" / 2.06m. 10st 5lbs / 129kgs
International record: 20 caps (W 10, L 10)
6 Jonathan THOMAS (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,013)
DoB: 27.12.82. 6'5" / 1.96m. 17st 13lbs / 114kgs
International record: 53 caps (W 26, L 25, D 2; 35 pts - 7T)
7 Martyn WILLIAMS (CARDIFF BLUES, CAPTAIN - Cap No 944)
DoB: 01.09.75. 6'0" / 1.83m. 15st 2lbs / 96kgs
International record: 94 caps (W 42, L 49, D 3; 73 pts - 14T, 1DG)
8 Gareth DELVE (GLOUCESTER RUGBY - Cap No 1,043) DoB: 30.12.82. 6'3" / 1.91m. 17st 13lbs / 114kgs
International record: 9 caps (W 4, L 5; 5 pts - 1T)
REPLACEMENTS 16 Huw BENNETT (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,017)
DoB: 11.06.83. 6'0" / 1.83m. 16st 10lbs / 106kgs
International record: 30 caps (W 17, L 13)
17 Rhys GILL (SARACENS)
DoB: 30.10.86. 5'11" / 1.80m. 17st 4lbs / 110kgs
International record: Uncapped
18 Ian GOUGH (OSPREYS - Cap No 964)
DoB: 10.11.76. 6' 6" / 1.98m. 18st 11lbs / 119kgs
International record: 61 caps (W 29, L 29, D 3; 5 pts - 1T)
19 Sam WARBURTON (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,070)
DoB: 05.10.88. 6'2" / 1.88m. 15st 11lbs / 100kgs
International record: 4 caps (W 3, L 1)
20 Dwayne PEEL (SALE SHARKS - Cap No 994) DoB: 31.08.81. 5'9" / 1.76m. 13st 8lbs / 86kgs
International record: 72 caps (W 34, L 36, D 2; 25 pts - 5T)
21 Andrew BISHOP (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,059) DoB: 07.08.85. 6'0" / 1.83m. 14st 12lbs / 94kgs
International record: 8 caps (W 6, L 2)
22 Tom SHANKLIN (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 993)
DoB: 24.11.79. 6'2" / 1.88m. 15st 9lbs / 99kgs
International record: 65 caps (W 31, L 33, D 1; 100 pts - 20T)
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event
GB7s women left their England base to train in Wales this week. Olympic Games hopeful Rachael Burford gives WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie her thoughts on Welsh teammate Jasmine Joyce - a 'one touch wonder'
The GB7s women's squad is currently training at Wales' Centre of Excellence where assistant coach Richie Pugh tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie some 'tough calls' will have to be made when it comes to finalising the 12 spots for Rio's Olympic Games.