Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named five uncapped players and has handed an international recall to Rhys Priestland in his squad for the autumn internationals in Cardiff.

Priestland’s last appearance for Wales came as a second-half replacement for Dan Biggar in the 46-6 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks in Dunedin in 2016, but his performances for Bath have earned him a recall.

Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams, Luke Charteris and Sam Davies have all failed to make the cut while injury means Ross Moriarty and Gethin Jenkins are not included.

Among the uncapped players is New Zealand born Hadleigh Parkes who qualifies to play for Wales on the day of the final autumn test against South Africa.

“I’m really excited about this squad as we kick off the two year countdown to the 2019 RWC,” said Gatland. “We see this series as an opportunity to expose some players to the Test environment and continue to build our game as we look ahead to two years’ time.

“This autumn is a lot different to 12 months ago, where the focus was all about rankings. We have selected five uncapped players, there are a further six who made their debuts on the summer tour so it is a big opportunity to see all these players in this environment and I’m looking forward to seeing what they are able to do.

“The important message for those players who have missed out; the door isn’t closed.”

Injuries have ruled out a host of players including Sam Warburton and George North, but after announcing his departure from Ospreys, Rhys Webb is included in the squad. There are five uncapped players named with Leon Brown, Sam Cross, Elliot Dee, Hadleigh Parkes and Owen Watkin also selected, but after recovering from a lion bite, Scott Baldwin has not been included.

Wales begin their autumn series with the visit of Australia, followed by games against Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa in Cardiff.

Wales squad

Forwards: R Evans, Wyn Jones, Smith, Brown, Francis, Lee, Dacey, Dee, Owens, Beard, S Davies, Hill, A Wyn Jones, Cross, Faletau, Lydiate, Navidi, Shingler Tipuric

Backs: A Davies, G Davies, Webb, Biggar, Patchell, Priestland, O Williams, J Davies, Morgan, Parkes, Watkin, Amos, Cuthbert, S Evans, Halfpenny, Li Williams.



Source link