Leaders in abundance
Either Gethin Jenkins or Ryan Jones are normally captain when Warburton isn’t available, and those two are injured for Wales’ first game against Italy. But lock Jones has shown what a good leader he is, so there’s no drop-off there. Roberts is also back at centre and ready to take charge of the defence, while you’ve also got Mike Phillips’ experience at scrum-half, Adam Jones in the front row and Lydiate, who led the midweek Lions last summer, in the back row so I don’t see many problems.
The beauty of Gatland’s tactics is that if someone is missing, somebody else just slots in. You can’t necessarily replace world-class players and there is no doubt Davies will be missed – just remember his last 10 minutes or so in a Wales jersey against South Africa in the autumn – but Williams is a talented young guy who has already played in some important games.
Wales are going for three in a row and there has been a lot of talk about using that as motivation in the build-up. But there is so much drive within these players anyway, it won’t be at the forefront of their minds when they take the field. They will just want to win each game by a point or two if need be.