Warren Gatland names Wales squad for Six Nations
Wales head coach Warren Gatland names his squad for the upcoming Six Nations tournament this spring
Warren Gatland has opted for experience after naming his Wales squad for the Six Nations which bids to become the first to win the title outright three years in a row.
Led by captain Sam Warburton, the 32-man squad features 28 players who have been part of Championship winning squads.
We have got an opportunity to create history and that is something we will focus on
After watching Rob Howley lead Wales to the title in 2013, Gatland is excited to return to Six Nations action and is looking forward to the challenge of defending the title.
“Last year was a fantastic year and I’m really excited to be back involved and this year is going to be a big challenge for us,” said Gatland.
“We have got an opportunity to create history and that is something we will focus on and something that will give us extra motivation.
“We have got the three games at home and two tough away games but when we won the Grand Slam in 2008 and 2012 we had these fixtures so we know it can be done.
“The Six Nations is always a tough competition, you need a little bit of luck and momentum and that’s why we need to start well against Italy first up.
“We’ve picked a pretty experienced squad and kept it fairly tight at this stage.
The front-row features three British & Irish Lions in Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins alongside Scarlets quartet Ken Owen, Emyr Phillips, Rhodri Jones and Samson Lee. They are joined by Bath prop Paul James and Ospreys’ Ryan Bevington.
The second-row includes Andrew Coombs, who made his debut in last season’s competition along with fellow Championship winners Alun Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris and Ian Evans.
In the back-row there is Justin Tipuric and Ryan Jones, Toby Faletau, Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro) and Scarlets’ Aaron Shingler named alongside skipper Warburton.
At half-back Rhodri Williams, who made his debut in the autumn is named along with Ospreys’ Rhys Webb who returns to the International scene after injury and Racing Metro’s Mike Phillips.
Dan Biggar, Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland and Perpignan’s James Hook are named among 13 backs with five further British & Irish Lions are named as Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Alex Cuthbert, George North and Leigh Halfpenny join Scarlets pair Scott Williams and Liam Williams.
Forwards: Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Paul James (Bath), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues)
Backs: Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), James Hook (Perpignan), George North (Northampton Saints), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets)