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Morgan Back For Wales

Newport Gwent Dragons full back Kevin Morgan has made a speedy recovery from his broken jaw to line up for Wales when they take on Italy on Saturday in the RBS Six Nations game in Rome.

Kath McCarthy | 05/03/2007

Newport Gwent Dragons full back Kevin Morgan has made a speedy recovery from his broken jaw to line up for Wales when they take on Italy on Saturday in the RBS Six Nations game in Rome.

Morgan is the only change to the Wales side defeated at Stade de France nine days ago - the Dragons full back replacing Lee Byrne (Ospreys) who misses out on the trip to face the Azzurri at Stadio Flaminio.

Elsewhere, Jenkins has made two changes to the bench, ensuring cover for the entire front row by adding an extra forward in Ospreys prop Adam Jones, and recalling his most experienced player, 90-times capped Toulouse back and former international captain Gareth Thomas. 

Blues centre Jamie Robinson and Dragons fly half Ceri Sweeney are the two players to miss out.

"We had a couple of bumps and bruises after our encounter with France, but both Mark (Jones) and Chris (Horsman) have passed fitness tests and Kevin (Morgan) has made a positive recovery from surgery," said Jenkins. 

"Kevin is delighted to be given the all clear ahead of Saturday. We had been hoping he would recover in time to make the Italy game and it's a welcome boost to us all to have someone of his calibre - and in his current form - available to play.

"Gareth (Thomas) will also strengthen the squad and he takes his place on the bench more than ready to make his return after seven weeks of no rugby.

"But he's been training hard and has all the experience necessary to make an impact if called upon.

"The Italians probably have the strongest scrum in the Six Nations and there is a certain amount of horses for courses in selection to reflect that.

"We've gone for a five (forwards)/ two (backs) split on the bench to give us front row cover which means we've had to get the balance right.

"With only two backs there we've looked at Gareth for his versatility and both Jamie Robinson and Ceri Sweeney have been unlucky.  James Hook can obviously cover 10 and Gareth is there to cover centre, wing and full back.

 "Italy is a tough place to go and win and no side knows that better than us.

"They had a great away win in Scotland and will be looking to consolidate that.  They will have targeted this game as one they can win, but we have done that as well.

"We turned up with a much improved performance against France and we will be concentrating on our own game against Italy.  We need to continue to improve as we work towards the World Cup."

Wales team physio Mark Davies added:

"The last couple of weeks have been uncomplicated, Kevin suffered none of the potential after effects of the operation and it's fair to say his recovery has been rapid. 

"He had a crack fracture through the socket of his wisdom tooth in his jawbone (mandible), the operation removed two wisdom teeth and successfully repaired the fracture.

"Kevin had been asked to avoid full contact training during his recovery period, but has taken an active part in other sessions and has now been given the all clear to play this weekend by his surgeon."

 

WALES                           

15          Kevin MORGAN (Dragons)

14          Mark JONES (Scarlets)

13          Tom SHANKLIN (Blues)

12          James HOOK (Ospreys)

11          Shane WILLIAMS (Ospreys)

10          Stephen JONES (Scarlets, captain)

 9          Dwayne PEEL (Scarlets)                   

 1          Gethin JENKINS (Blues)         

 2          Matthew REES (Scarlets)         

 3          Chris HORSMAN (Worcester)         

 4          Ian GOUGH (Dragons)                   

 5          Alun-Wyn JONES (Ospreys)         

 6          Alix POPHAM (Scarlets)                   

 7          Martyn WILLIAMS (Blues)         

 8          Ryan JONES (Ospreys)                   

                                                   REPLACEMENTS

 

16           T Rhys THOMAS (Blues)                             

17          Duncan JONES (Ospreys)         

18          Adam JONES (Ospreys)         

19          Brent COCKBAIN (Ospreys)                   

20          Jonathan THOMAS (Ospreys)         

21          Mike PHILLIPS (Blues)         

22          Gareth THOMAS (Toulouse)

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