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03rd Feb 2016

Big names return as Wales plot plunder in Dublin

They mean business

Patrick McCarry

Warren Gatland has welcomed back two of his star names for Wales’ Six Nations opener against Ireland on Sunday.

The Kiwi is able to call on captain Sam Warburton, who has yet to play for his Cardiff Blues team this year for the trip to Dublin, while Gareth Anscombe is also back in the team at fullback.

Warburton starts at blindside to accommodate the in-form Justin Tipuric at openside and Toby Faletau completes a fearsome back-row that will be targeting both Johnny Sexton and the breakdown.

Jonathan Davies resumes his midfield partnership with Jamie Roberts after a spell on the international sidelines while Welsh fans will be particularly happy to see Samson Lee start at tighthead.

Wales and Ireland have shared two Test victories apiece in the past two years.

With the Irish pack missing the likes of Peter O’Mahony, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson and the retired Paul O’Connell, Sunday’s clash could see Wales claim back-to-back wins in Dublin for the first time in a long time.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt names his team at lunchtime on Friday.