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No Dan Biggar as Wales name five uncapped players in 35-man squad

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Dan Biggar has not been included in Wales’ 35-man Autumn Nations Series squad due to the continued assessment of his knee injury. Biggar went off during Northampton’s Gallagher Premiership victory over Wasps on October 9, with Saints stating that his condition would be reviewed by a specialist ahead of an autumn schedule that Wales kick off against New Zealand on November 5.


It is unclear at this stage whether the talisman fly-half, who captained Wales against South Africa this summer, will be available for later autumn appointments with Argentina, Georgia or Australia, but it would appear unlikely.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac’s group includes five uncapped players and a recall for full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who has not played Test rugby since he suffered a serious knee injury 15 months ago. Ken Owens and Justin Tipuric are also back for international duty more than a year after they last appeared.

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The five uncapped players selected are Joe Hawkins of the Ospreys, Rio Dyer of Dragons, Scarlets duo Dane Blacker and Sam Costelow, while Josh Macleod – another Scarlets player – is also included after previously being selected in the 2020 Autumn Nations Series and 2021 Guinness Six Nations squads.

Pivac said: “It’s great to have Ken, Justin and Leigh back after long-term injuries. They are three great players who have served Wales very well. They are all British and Irish Lions so quality players. We are excited to have them in the squad for obvious reasons. We have a number of young players in this squad so it will be great for them to rub shoulders with these experienced ones.


“There are a lot of young players we’ve been keeping an eye on for a number of years through the age group system and now playing club rugby. There is a view of the here and now in this squad but also beyond Rugby World Cup 2023 to the tournament in 2027, so there is some young guys getting the opportunity to taste the camp environment. They may or may not get game time, but it will be a great experience for them.

“Dane Blacker has been playing well at nine for the Scarlets. We know a lot about Gareth (Davies) it’s not the end of the road for Gareth, I’ve spoken to him. Sam Costelow is another young player at the Scarlets playing well and having come through the age-grade system.


“Joe Hawkins is the same, he captained the U20s so he is a player for the future. Rio Dyer came into camp ahead of the South Africa Test series to help the squad prepare and performed well. He is currently playing really well for the Dragons.

“Josh Macleod is an interesting one. He has been selected in a couple of camps before. Unfortunately, he was injured before coming in playing for the Scarlets. Then we actually named him to play in a Six Nations game against Scotland and he ruptured his achilles in training which was devastating for him. He is a guy that has been on our radar for some time and to get him into the squad and have another look at him, we are excited for Josh.

Regarding the captaincy, Pivac added: “For us, it’s about finalising the squad today and then we will look closely at who is going to lead the side. We have quite a few options with a lot of experience in the squad now. There is probably an opportunity for more than one captain in this series.”

Wales Autumn Nations Series squad:
Forwards (20)
Rhodri Jones (Dragons – 21 caps)
Nicky Smith (Ospreys – 41 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 13 caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 30 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 8 caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets – 87 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 65 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 41 caps)
Sam Wainwright (Saracens – 2 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 37 caps)
Ben Carter (Dragons Rugby – 6 caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys 153 caps)
Will Rowlands (Dragons Rugby – 21 caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 91 caps)
Dan Lydiate (Ospreys – 68 caps)
Josh MacLeod (Scarlets – uncapped)
Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 3 caps)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 3 caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 86 caps)
Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs – 2 caps)


Backs (15)
Dane Blacker (Scarlets – uncapped)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 14 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 36 caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 32 caps)
Sam Costelow (Scarlets – uncapped)
Rhys Priestland (Cardiff Rugby – 52 caps)
Joe Hawkins – (Ospreys uncapped)
George North (Ospreys – 105 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 23 caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 33 caps)
Josh Adams – (Cardiff Rugby – 42 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 52 caps)
Rio Dyer (Dragons Rugby – uncapped)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 96 caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 19 caps)


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1 Comment
chris 634 days ago

I hope Josh MacLeod gets a cap at last

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