Nine Ospreys in 39-man Wales squad

Wales have named nine Ospreys players in a 39-man squad for the 2018 NatWest Six Nations, led by captain Alun Wyn Jones.

The Ospreys skipper is one of six forwards selected from the region. Scott Baldwin is recalled and features alongside Nicky Smith, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies and Justin Tipuric.

Half backs Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb feature as does young centre Owen Watkin.

Warren Gatland includes two uncapped players in his squad, flanker James Davies and wing Josh Adams.

The duo are called into a Wales squad for the first time and will link up with the experienced squad when they convene at the National Centre of Excellence next Monday.

Rob Evans, Wyn Jones and Nicky Smith who all featured in the recent Under Armour Series are named with Dillon Lewis, who made his debut on the 2017 Summer Tour, Tomas Francis and Samson Lee. Scott Baldwin is recalled to the squad and is named alongside Ken Owens and Elliot Dee at hooker.

57-times capped second-row Bradley Davies features alongside skipper Jones, Cory Hill, Seb Davies and Adam Beard.

In the back-row Davies joins Cardiff Blues duo Ellis Jenkins and Josh Navidi, fellow Scarlet Aaron Shingler and British & Irish Lions Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty and Taulupe Faletau.

Aled Davies, Gareth Davies and Rhys Webb are named as the scrum-halves with Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell, Rhys Priestland and Gareth Anscombe as fly-halves.  Owen Watkin and Hadleigh Parkes, who both made their debut last autumn, feature alongside Owen and Scott Williams.

Worcester wing Adams is named alongside Hallam Amos and Steff Evans along with Lions quartet George North, Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert and Leigh Halfpenny.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said:

“It is an exciting opportunity for the two new caps. James’ form over the last couple of years has been impressive, he’s in a competitive area but we look forward to seeing what he can do.  For Josh it’s a great opportunity, he’s been on great form and the back-three is somewhere we are looking to create depth in.

“We have selected a larger squad and it is an opportunity for us to work with a wider group and continue building for the next 18 months.  It's important to have a group of players who are used to the environment, know what is expected and are familiar with things and that will really benefit us going forward.

“We have included a couple of players who are carrying injuries.  With Taulupe we are hoping he will be available towards the end of the campaign and Rhys (Priestland) picked up a knock at the weekend so we will see where he is at.  It's useful to have these experienced guys around camp and to have them included and to work with them.

“Last autumn was about exposing and developing players as part of the two-year countdown to the RWC, the next couple of months are about testing those players in tournament rugby – we know how important the Six Nations is.”


WALES SQUAD – 2018 NatWest Six Nations

Forwards (21):

Rob Evans (Scarlets) (20 Caps)

Wyn Jones (Scarlets (5 Caps)

Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (16 Caps)

Scott Baldwin (Ospreys) (34 Caps)

Elliot Dee (Dragons) (2 Caps)

Ken Owens (Scarlets) (52 Caps)

Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (26 Caps)

Samson Lee (Scarlets) (34 Caps)

Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (2 Caps)

Adam Beard (Ospreys) (2 Caps)

Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (57 Caps)

Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps)

Cory Hill (Dragons) (10 Caps)

Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (113 Caps) (CAPT)

James Davies (Scarlets) (*Uncapped)

Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (70 Caps)

Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) (5 Caps)

Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) (17 Caps)

Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (7 Caps)

Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (13 Caps)

Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (52 Caps)


Backs (18):

Aled Davies (Scarlets) (5 Caps)

Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (27 Caps)

Rhys Webb (Ospreys) (31 Caps)

Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (11 Caps)

Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (60 Caps)

Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (5 Caps)

Rhys Priestland (Bath) (50 Caps)

Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (1 Cap)

Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (2 Caps)

Owen Williams (Gloucester) (3 Caps)

Scott Williams (Scarlets) (51 Caps)

Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors) (*Uncapped)

Hallam Amos (Dragons) (15 Caps)

Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues) (47 Caps)

Steff Evans (Scarlets) (5 Caps)

Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (74 Caps)

George North (Northampton Saints) (69 Caps)

Liam Williams (Saracens) (45 Caps)