Taking over from Justin Tipuric, Scarlets hooker Ken Owens will captain Wales in the Six Nations.
Four uncapped players have been added to Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad, including Cardiff duo Teddy Williams and Mason Grady and Ospreys’ Rhys Davies and Keiran Williams.
Rhys Webb, Rhys Carre, Rhys Patchell, Aaron Wainwright and Owen Williams are all back for the Ospreys.
Wales begin the Six Nations campaign against Ireland on 4 February.
After missing the Autumn Nations Series due to injury, Wyn Jones, Dewi Lake, Liam Williams and Dan Biggar return to the squad.
Dragons prop Leon Brown is also recalled, while back row Ross Moriarty, prop Nicky Smith and hooker Ryan Elias, who has been nursing an Achilles injury, are absentees.
Despite never having led his country, Owens was chosen after flanker Tipuric led Wales through the autumn series, while Biggar handled the 2022 Six Nations and summer tour of South Africa.
“Ken is a passionate Welshman with a great deal of experience – playing for Wales means a lot to him,” said Gatland.
During the autumn campaign, he was outstanding after returning from injury.
Currently, if you’re picking a team, he’s the number one in that position, but he will have some competition from Dewi and Bradley as well.”
Gloucester’s Louis Rees-Zammit is out for the opening two games, but Gatland hopes he will recover in time to face England on February 25th. There are a few more who could be available later in the Six Nations, and they are giving them all the treatment they need to get back up to speed. Leon has resumed full training, while Dillon is close behind. Both players must be ready from day one of the tournament.
Wales have announced their squad for the upcoming Six Nations tournament, with a number of new faces included.
Gareth Davies, Josh Adams and Tomas Francis are among those who have been named in the squad, while there is also a recall for scrum-half Rhys Webb.
Head coach Wayne Pivac has said that he is excited to see what the new players can do on the international stage, and is confident that Wales can compete for the title.
The Six Nations will take place from February 4th to March 16th, with Wales’ first game against Ireland on February 7th.
Warren Gatland was lured back to the Welsh team after an unsatisfactory 2022, which included home losses against Italy and Georgia that led to his compatriot, Wayne Pivac, leaving. To bolster his backroom staff, he secured Alex King and Mike Forshaw, who replaced Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins respectively. King had worked with Gatland at Wasps while Forshaw was coaxed away from Premiership side Sale. Jonathan Thomas also joined the squad. Under his 12-year tenure prior to this return, Wales earned four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams and reached two World Cup semi-finals; an accomplishment which contributed to their brief reign as the world’s number one team.
Forwards: Rhys Carre (Cardiff), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Dewi Lake (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets, capt), Bradley Roberts (Dragon), Leon Brown (Dragons), Tomas Francis (Ospreys), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Rhys Davies (Ospreys), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Teddy Williams (Cardiff), Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff), Jac Morgan (Ospreys), Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).
Backs: Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Tomos Williams (Cardiff), Dan Biggar (Toulon), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Owen Williams (Ospreys), Mason Grady (Cardiff), Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), George North (Ospreys), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Keiran Williams (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Cardiff), Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys), Rio Dyer (Dragons), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Liam Williams (Cardiff).