North is Wales' centre of attention against Italy

Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


George North has been moved to centre for Wales' Six Nations opener at home to Italy on Saturday.

Best known as a powerhouse wing, North slots into midfield to replace injured centre Jonathan Davies for what will be new coach Wayne Pivac's first full international in charge.

Pivac has given a Test debut to Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl, while fit-again No 8 Taulupe Faletau returns for the reigning Grand Slam champions.

Former Scarlets boss Pivac has succeeded Warren Gatland after his fellow New Zealander stood down after last year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, where the Welsh made it to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions South Africa.

Wales team (15-1)

Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Jake Ball; Dillon Lewis, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Ross Moriarty, Rhys Webb, Jarrod Evans, Nick Tompkins