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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019
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Gatland goes for continuity with Wales' Six Nations squad

The Welsh are aiming to become the first nation to win the title for three years in a row.

Wales are the defending champions of the Six Nations.
Wales are the defending champions of the Six Nations.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

WARREN GATLAND HAS sprung no major surprises with his selection for Wales as they target a third consecutive Six Nations title.

His 32-man squad includes a number of players who are currently on the comeback trail from injury, such as Gethin Jenkins [knee] and Sam captain Sam Warburton [shoulder]. The likes of George North, Toby Faletau and Alun-Wyn Jones will once again lead the Welsh charge.

Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland have both been named and are likely to compete for the out-half position in the starting team, although Perpignan’s James Hook provides a creative alternative there.

20-year-old Rhodri Williams is also part of the squad, having made his international debut in November, while the Ospreys’ Rhys Webb will also provide competition to Mike Phillips for the number nine shirt.

Head coach Gatland says he is looking forward to the Six Nations kicking off:

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. 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 know there are some politics going on at the moment but we will put that to one side, come together as a group and focus on the rugby and what we can control. We can’t wait to kick off the tournament at home against Italy.

“We have got three matches at home, the Scotland match has already sold-out, there are just some single tickets left for France and Italy is not too far from being sold out as well so the atmosphere will be great. There is nothing better than playing in the best stadium in world with the Welsh fans behind us singing.”

Wales Six Nations squad:

Backs (13): Liam Williams (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); George North (Northampton), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets); James Hook (Perpignan), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys); Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets).

Forwards: Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys); Andrew Coombs (Dragons), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys); Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath).

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Murray Kinsella

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