Gavin Henson has been given the opportunity to redeem himself from the bench in Wales' Six Nations Championship clash with Italy on Saturday.

Henson took full responsibility for Wales' thumping 31-5 defeat in Ireland two weekends ago and said his form did not warrant selection for the Italy match.

But caretaker coach Scott Johnson has kept faith with the Ospreys centre and included him among the replacements in a squad featuring three changes.

Winger Shane Williams returns in place of Dafydd James after recovering from a dead leg and is the only change to the starting XV.

Stephen Jones has recovered from the dead leg that forced him off the field at Lansdowne Road. Winger Mark Jones, rated only 50-50 earlier this week after suffering bruised ribs in Llanelli's Powergen Cup semi-final win over Bath, is fit enough to be in the side.

There are two changes on the bench.

Alix Popham, the Llanelli No 8 who enjoyed a stand-out performance against Bath at the Millennium Stadium last Saturday, is called up at the expense of Bath's Gareth Delve.

After Henson's disappointing performance as stand-in fly-half in Dublin - he replaced Stephen Jones after 20 minutes - Johnson has included Cardiff's Nicky Robinson to the bench in pace of Barry Davies.

Johnson said: "We have kept the faith with the majority of the side that under-performed in Dublin and told them to go out there on Saturday and put things right.

"The boys have a second chance to prove what they are capable of and that the last outing was just a blip.

"What we saw against Ireland just wasn't us and my message to the fans is 'don't give up on us yet, this is our hour of need and we need you now more than ever'.

"Alix really played himself into the squad with his performance for the Scarlets. He is getting what he deserves and forcing us to look at him in a different light.

"He will be a potent weapon for us from the bench if necessary.

"Nicky Robinson comes on to the bench as direct cover for Stephen Jones at fly-half."

Henson was in the squad for the Ireland game despite having played only five games all season due to a combination of injury and suspension.

He was then thrust into the unfamiliar fly-half role when Jones limped off and struggled to adapt to the rigours of Test rugby.

He said after the game: "I feel pretty depressed, suicidal. I let myself down and I let the players down.

"I need game-time and I have to learn quickly. I have no form, haven't played any games and am nowhere near international level.

"I don't deserve to be there (in the Wales squad to face Italy)."

But Johnson has kept faith with Henson, who played for the Ospreys in the Celtic League on Friday, and he provides cover for the centre and full-back positions this weekend.

Johnson said: "We have retained Gavin Henson as cover for a number of positions in the backs.

"The philosophy here is to keep this side tight, we are a close-knit group and we have had to maintain our focus in the last fortnight to ensure the performance will be in front of our home fans at the Millennium Stadium.

"Italy will be strong, they are the biggest improvers in the Championship, but that is exactly the test we need, to get ourselves back on track.

"This season's champion-ship is the most open in years, which is great for the competition. If we do our part well and get our performances right in the next two weeks who knows where we will end up, after all it's still our title to defend."