WARREN Gatland says making Taulupe Faletau Wales’ 134th captain is a chance to get more out of the world-class back row forward.

The 27-year-old from Pontypool will lead out his country when winning his 71st cap against Italy at Principality Stadium on Sunday.

The former Dragons ace has been a stellar performer on the Test stage since making his debut against the Barbarians in 2011, letting his actions speak louder than words.

But now Faletau will be tasked with leading a much-changed side to a Six Nations victory against the Azzurri.

The back row forward captained the Dragons in his Rodney Parade hurrah in April, 2016 and declared pre-match: “The only time that I’ve captained a side has been on (the computer game) FIFA!

“I’ve already told them that it will be a pretty quiet changing room but hopefully I can have a few words to get the boys up for it.”

Now Faletau will be tasked with media duties on Saturday’s captain’s run in Cardiff and a speech to a function after the game, all while ensuring he puts in a big performance to retain the jersey for the Six Nations finale against France.

“It’s part of his development as a leader within the group,” said Gatland. “He is part of the leadership group within the squad and it’s a good opportunity for him to contribute more.

“It’s a great opportunity for him and when I asked him on Tuesday if he would be keen, he jumped at the opportunity.

“He’s still pretty quiet so the good thing is that it’s going to encourage other players around him to be vocal as well.

“That’s something within the Welsh culture that traditionally players have relied on the captain taking the mantle in terms of doing speaking and communicating within the group.

“It’s been a big work-on for us for a long time to get others to contribute and this is part of the process.

“He is a world-class player and it’s an opportunity to get some more out of him in terms of his leadership building up to (the World Cup in) 2019.”

Faletau is one of 10 changes made by Gatland to the side that lost to Ireland with Dragons hooker Elliot Dee making his first Test start.

The 24-year-old has made five lively international appearances off the bench and finally gets to wear 2 on his back.

His regional teammate Cory Hill is one of five players to keep their places from the Aviva Stadium with scrum-half Gareth Davies, centre Hadleigh Parks, wing Steff Evans and full-back Liam Williams retained.

Scarlets flanker James Davies makes his Test debut while Gareth Anscombe earns the 10 jersey with Gatland admitting that he may have made the wrong call by starting Dan Biggar at fly-half in Dublin.

“He deserves a chance and has been sharp when he has come on, giving us attacking flair,” said the coach.

“Before the selection for the last game I said to him ‘I’ll be 100 per cent honest, I don’t know we have made the right call at 10’.

“I’m still not convinced it was the right decision. The challenge for him now is to be dangerous and accurate when he starts.”

Wales: L Williams (Saracens); G North (Northampton), O Watkin (Ospreys), H Parkes (Scarlets), S Evans (Scarlets); G Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), G Davies (Scarlets); N Smith (Ospreys), E Dee (Dragons), T Francis (Exeter), C Hill (Dragons), B Davies (Ospreys), J Tipuric (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), T Faletau (Bath, captain).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), R Evans (Scarlets), S Lee (Scarlets), S Davies (Cardiff Blues), E Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), A Davies (Scarlets), R Patchell (Scarlets), L Halfpenny (Scarlets).