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Four uncapped players named in 37-strong Wales Six Nations squad

By PA
(Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named four uncapped players in his squad for the Guinness Six Nations championship. Ospreys centre Keiran Williams, Cardiff centre Mason Grady, Ospreys lock Rhys Davies and Cardiff second row forward Teddy Williams have all been selected. The quartet are the only international rookies among a 37-man group, with Gatland’s second spell as Wales boss beginning against Ireland on February 4.

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Scarlets hooker Ken Owens has been appointed captain, being preferred to other candidates such as Justin Tipuric, Dan Biggar and Alyn Wyn Jones. Elsewhere, there are recalls for 34-year-old Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb – who last played Test rugby in 2020 – Ospreys fly-half Owen Williams, Scarlets back Rhys Patchell, Cardiff prop Rhys Carre and Dragons back-row forward Aaron Wainwright.

Selection absentees include Ross Moriarty, Nicky Smith and Ryan Elias, while injuries have sidelined the likes of fly-half Gareth Anscombe and lock Will Rowlands. But Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit, who is currently out of action due to an ankle problem, has been picked.

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Gatland said: “It’s probably a bigger squad than I would normally name, but we want to have a good Six Nations and also look forward to the World Cup. We have some youngsters that have come in and then we’ve some older, very experienced players that we need to manage.

“It is looking at the whole element for the squad and how we get the balance right because that is definitely going to be a challenge over the next 10 months.”

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On the captaincy, Gatland added: “Ken is incredibly experienced and a passionate Welshman – it means a lot to him to play for Wales. He is also very popular with the players. He came back from injury and was absolutely outstanding during the autumn campaign. Probably, if you are picking a team at the moment, he is the number one in that position.”

It was also confirmed that ex-Wales back-rower Jonathan Thomas has been recruited by Gatland to coach the contact area. A WRU tweet read: “Official – Jonathan Thomas joins the Welsh setup, being responsible for the contact area. He won 67 Welsh caps and has coached at Bristol, Worcester and Ealing. Croeso, Jonathan!”

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Wales’ Guinness Six Nations squad
Forwards (20):
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby 17 caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 45 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 17 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 8 caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets – 86 caps), Captain
Bradley Roberts (Dragons – 3 caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons – 22 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 67 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 45 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 41 caps)
Rhys Davies (Ospreys – uncapped)
Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 1 cap)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 155 caps)
Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 95 caps)
Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 6 caps)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 4 caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 89 caps)
Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs – 3 caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 36 caps)

Backs (17):
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 16 caps)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys – 36 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 40 caps)
Dan Biggar (Toulon – 103 caps)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets – 21 caps)
Owen Williams (Ospreys – 3 caps)
Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Joe Hawkins (Ospreys – 1 cap)
George North (Ospreys – 109 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 25 caps)
Keiran Williams (Ospreys – uncapped)
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 44 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 55 caps)
Rio Dyer (Dragons – 3 caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 97 caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 22)
Liam Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 81)

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Tim 4 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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