Pembrokeshire-born Stephen Varney returns to Italy side to face Wales

Stephen Varney in action for Gloucester Rugby Stephen Varney will start at scrum-half for Italy (Adam Davy/PA)

Gloucester scrum-half Stephen Varney will return to the Italy team for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Wales in Rome.

Varney missed Italy’s match with Ireland last month after suffering an injury during the warm-up.

Varney, who was born in Wales but qualifies for Italy through his mother, now returns as one of five changes.

He resumes his half-back partnership with Paolo Garbisi, while wing Mattia Bellini replaces an injured Luca Sperandio.

Elsewhere, switches in the pack see starts for props Danilo Fischetti and Giosue Zilocchi, in addition to lock Niccolo Cannone.

Italy host Wales after suffering comprehensive Six Nations defeats this season against France, England and Ireland, while their last victory in the tournament came six years ago when they toppled Scotland at Murrayfield.

Italy team to play Wales

Forwards: 1 Danilo Fischetti (Zebre Rugby Club), 2 Luca Bigi (CAPTAIN, Zebre Rugby Club), 3 Giosuè Zilocchi (Zebre Rugby Club), 4 Niccolò Cannone (Benetton Rugby), 5 David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club), 6 Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby), 7 Johan Meyer (Zebre Rugby Club), 8 Michele Lamaro (Benetton Rugby)

Backs: 9 Stephen Varney (Gloucester Rugby), 10 Paolo Garbisi (Benetton Rugby), 11 Montanna Ioane (Benetton Rugby), 12 Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby Club), 13 Juan Ignacio Brex (Benetton Rugby), 14 Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby Club), 15 Jacopo Trulla (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano)

Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre Rugby Club), 17 Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby Club), 18 Marco Riccioni (Benetton Rugby), 19 Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby), 20 Maxime Mbanda’ (Zebre Rugby Club), 21 Marcello Violi (Zebre Rugby Club), 22 Federico Mori (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano), 23 Edoardo Padovani (Benetton Rugby)

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