A Newcastle Emlyn rugby player will start for Wales in wooden spoon decider against Italy this weekend.

Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland announced the Wales XV line-up for the match at Principality Stadium on March 16 at 2.15pm.

Gareth Thomas, the Newcastle Emlyn born prop, who already has 29 caps under his belt, will be driving the team's efforts on the field.

He will play alongside returning players George North and Nick Tompkins, both of who have been reinstated in the centre.

Also joining them will be captain Dafydd Jenkins, who is set to perform in the second row with Adam Beard.

Alex Mann starts at blind-side flanker and Dillon Lewis is set to make his 2024 Championship debut as a tight-head prop.

Elsewhere, tight-head prop Harri O’Connor may secure his first senior international cap as he's named among the replacements.

Warren Gatland expressed his team's determination to nab the win.

He said: "This is an important game for us.

"We definitely don’t want to finish bottom and the squad is hungry to win."

He added that their Italian rivals have "quality players" who have shown skill in turning opportunities into points.

"We’re excited and will step up and welcome the challenge ahead," Gatland declared, highlighting the team's quest for an "80-minute performance".

Noting the pressures that come with international rugby, he emphasised: "It’s about embracing that, continuing the hard work and fronting up in training to go out there and be accurate and disciplined on Saturday."

Wales team to face Italy at Principality Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday, March 16: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Gareth Thomas, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Dillon Lewis, 4 Dafydd Jenkins (Captain), 5 Adam Beard, 6 Alex Mann, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8. Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: 16 Evan Lloyd, 17 Kemsley Mathias, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Mason Grady.