Six Nations: Jonathan Davies to lead Wales as Warren Gatland rotates for Italy

Jonathan Davies will win his 70th cap at the Stadio Olimpico against Italy on Saturday. Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Jonathan Davies will captain Wales for the first time as head coach Warren Gatland named 10 changes for the team to face Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Centre Davies is one of five players to keep their place from Wales' opening Six Nations win over France, alongside fullback Liam Williams, winger Josh Adams, lock Adam Beard and Josh Navidi, who moves to No. 8.

Dan Biggar starts at fly-half in place of Gareth Anscombe while Aled Davies comes in for Tomos Williams at scrum-half. Owen Watkin will partner Jonathan Davies in midfield. George North, who scored two tries in Wales' comeback win in Paris, is not involved in the matchday squad and his place in the back three is taken by Jonah Holmes, who will win his second international cap.

Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee and Samson Lee form a new front row and Jake Bell replaces captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row. Aaron Wainwright and Thomas Young, who will make his Six Nations debut in Rome, complete the Wales' pack on the flanks.

Speaking ahead of the clash at the Stadio Olimpico, Gatland said the alternations will provide a number of players experience ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September. Gatland also made 10 changes to his Wales side to face Italy last year, which ended in a 38-14 home win.

"We have made a number of changes this weekend but have picked what we think is a very exciting team that still has huge experience throughout it," Gatland said in a statement.

"We have made a similar number of changes to what we did last year, but it is all about opportunity for these players.

"We have had a squad of 31 training together, replicating the Rugby World Cup and it is important they get game-time.

"It is a great opportunity for Jon [Davies] as captain. He has a huge amount of experience, is a great leader and it is a great honour for him to lead his country."

The Italians opened their Six Nations campaign with a 33-20 defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh.

"Italy will be hurting after last weekend but they are a different proposition in Rome," Gatland added. "They are an experienced team themselves and they will be looking to put things right on the pitch after their opening defeat."

Meanwhile, Italy head coach Connor O'Shea has made two changes ahead of the clash, bringing in Edoardo Padovani and Nicola Quaglio. Zebras captain Tammaso Castello misses out due to injury, while Michele Campagnaro moves to centre.

Italy team to face Wales

15. Jayden Hayward, 14. Edoardo Padavoni, 13. Michele Campagnaro, 12. Luca Morisi, 11. Angelo Esposito, 10. Tommaso Allan, 9. Guglielmo Palazanni; 1. Nicola Quaglio, 2. Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3. Simone Ferrari, 4. David Sisi, 5. Dean Budd, 6. Sebastian Negri, 7. Braam Steyn, 8. Sergio Parisse (c)

Replacements: 16. Luca Bigi 17. Cherif Traore 18. Tiziano Pasquali 19. Federico Ruzza 20. Marco Barbini 21. Edoardo Gori 22. Ian McKinley 23. Tommaso Benvenuti

Wales team to face Italy

15. Liam Williams, 14. Jonah Holmes, 13. Jonathan Davies (c), 12. Owen Watkin, 11. Josh Adams, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Aled Davies; 1. Nicky Smith 2. Elliot Dee, 3. Samson Lee, 4. Jake Ball, 5. Adam Beard, 6. Aaron Wainwright, 7. Thomas Young, 8. Josh Navidi

Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Wyn Jones, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Alun Wyn Jones, 20. Ross Moriarty, 21. Gareth Davies, 22. Gareth Anscombe, 23. Hallam Amos.