DRAGONS hooker Elliot Dee will make his first Test start for Wales against Italy on Sunday while Taulupe Faletau will lead his country for the first time.

As expected, Warren Gatland has tinkered with his side for the clash with the Azzurri with former Dragons number eight Faletau one of 10 changes.

The 70-times capped number eight from Pontypool returns from injury to take the captain’s armband - becoming Wales' 134th skipper - and will line-up in a new look back row with Justin Tipuric wearing six with Scarlets flanker James Davies making his international debut at openside.

Experienced Bradley Davies, who has featured in all three opening Six Nations encounters for Wales from the bench, starts alongside Dragons captain Cory Hill in the second row while Nicky Smith and Tomas Francis join Dee in the front row.

The 23-year-old hooker from Newbridge makes his first international start after five cameos off the bench against Georgia, South Africa, Scotland, England and Ireland.

Gareth Davies partners Gareth Anscombe at half-back with Owen Watkin coming in for his first Six Nations start to partner Hadleigh Parkes in the midfield.

Liam Williams moves to full-back as George North comes into the starting XV to form a back-three alongside Steff Evans.

“It is a great opportunity for Taulupe, he is a world class player, hugely experienced and this will be great for his development and we are looking forward to seeing those leadership qualities come through,” said head coach Gatland.

“We have made some changes, but we are bringing in a lot of quality and a lot of experience with the likes of Bradley Davies, Justin Tipuric, George North and Taulupe.

“Add into that James Davies who gets his first cap, Elliot Dee who gets his first start - this is a great opportunity for them to play tournament rugby.

“It is challenging making changes, but we have picked a really exciting team and Sunday is their chance.”

Scarlets trio Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Samson Lee provide the front-row cover with Cardiff Blues duo Seb Davies and Ellis Jenkins completing the forward contingent on the bench. Scarlets’ Aled Davies, Rhys Patchell and Leigh Halfpenny provide the back-line cover.

Liam Williams (Saracens) (46 Caps)
George North (Northampton Saints) (71 Caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (3 Caps)
Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (4 Caps)
Steff Evans (Scarlets) (8 Caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (14 Caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (30 Caps)
Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (16 Caps)
Elliot Dee (Dragons) (5 Caps)
Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (29 Caps)
Cory Hill (Dragons) (13 Caps)
Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (60 Caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (55 Caps)
James Davies (Scarlets) (*Uncapped)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (70 Caps) (CAPT)
Ken Owens (Scarlets) (55 Caps)
Rob Evans (Scarlets) (23 Caps)
Samson Lee (Scarlets) (37 Caps)
Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps)
Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) (5 Caps)
Aled Davies (Scarlets) (7 Caps)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (7 Caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (76 Caps)