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Warburton returns to captain Wales against Ireland

February 4, 2014

CARDFIFF, Wales (AP) — Sam Warburton is returning to the Wales starting lineup to captain the defending Six Nations champions against Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

The flanker began his comeback from a right shoulder injury by coming off the bench on Saturday when Wales opened with a victory over Italy.

Warburton replaces Justin Tipuric, one of three changes announced on Tuesday by coach Warren Gatland.

Prop Gethin Jenkins is set to make his 102nd Wales appearance in place of Paul James, and Andrew Coombs takes over from lock Luke Charteris, who has a hamstring injury.

“It is great to bring Sam and Gethin back into the side, and it’s a good opportunity for Andrew Coombs to start as well,” Gatland said.

“Last weekend was a good hit-out for a lot of reasons, but we still have things to work on and we know how important this game is.”

James and Tipuric are among the reserves, where there is also a spot for uncapped lock Jake Ball.

Ireland will name its side on Thursday.

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Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, George North, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton (captain), Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Andrew Coombs, Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard, Gethin Jenkins. Reserves: Ken Owens, Paul James, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb, James Hook, Liam Williams.

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