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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 08:17 GMT
Captain Jones out of England game
Wales captain Stephen Jones
Jones has led Wales to four Six Nations defeats
Wales captain Stephen Jones will miss Saturday's Six Nations match against England in Cardiff because of injury.

Jones has a fractured wrist bone that will keep him out for up to three weeks, also making him a doubt for the Scarlets' Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Gareth Thomas comes into the side at inside centre and takes over as skipper while James Hook moves to fly-half.

Ceri Sweeney takes Thomas's place on the bench in the only other change to the 22 that lost to Italy last weekend.

SIX NATIONS BLOG
BBC Wales' Sean Davies

Prop Chris Horsman and hooker Matthew Rees are fit to start after niggling injuries.

Jones was thought to be an injury doubt because of a facial injury following a clash with Mauro Bergamasco in the loss in Rome, but he was passed fit and named in the Wales team on Tuesday, only to be ruled out following an X-ray on the wrist injury he sustained in the same game.

"Stephen has been nothing short of inspirational in camp over the last few days and this is by no means ideal preparation for what is an important week," said Wales coach Gareth Jenkins.

We are in the privileged position of being able to call upon a player of Gareth's immense captaincy pedigree

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins

"However we are all confident Hook will be able to change position and meet the challenge presented to him and Thomas's inclusion has positive implications both psychologically and for rugby reasons.

"We are in the privileged position of being able to call upon a player of his immense captaincy pedigree, rugby history and leadership talents to fill the void left by Stephen's injury."

The defeat at the Stadio Flaminio leaves Wales facing a Six Nations whitewash for the second time in their history, but Jenkins has resisted calls to bring in the likes of Colin Charvis.

"This selection is very much a message to these players that we believe in them," said Jenkins, who hosts an England side chasing an outside chance of the title in the tournament's final game.

"We believe in their talents and we don't think we are very far away from putting the kind of performances together that will start winning us matches.

"They have a second chance as a group to prove what they can do and we are all backing them to do it.

"We are a proud group and we are returning home to the Millennium Stadium after five tough weeks on the road.

"There are things we need to change on match day to come away with a win, but the selection process we have gone through tells us that this is the right team to beat England.

"We made mistakes against Italy and there were one or two things that could have gone our way which may have changed the result, but we know we only have ourselves to blame for failing to close the game down."


Wales team to face England (Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, Saturday, 17 March, 1730 GMT):
Kevin Morgan (Dragons); Mark Jones (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues), Gareth Thomas (toulouse, capt), Shane Williams (Ospreys); James Hook (Ospreys), Dwayne Peel (Scarlets); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Chris Horsman (Worcester), Ian Gough (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Alix Popham (Scarlets), Martyn Williams (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys).
Replacements: Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Rhys Thomas (Blues), Brent Cockbain (Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Blues), Ceri Sweeney (Dragons).

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)


SEE ALSO
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Six Nations team guides
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