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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020

Pivac names five uncapped players in Wales' Six Nations squad

Huge shock as new Wales coach fills out squad with English-based players.

Welsh new boy Tompkins playing for Saracens against Munster.
Welsh new boy Tompkins playing for Saracens against Munster.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

WARREN GATLAND BUILT a reputation for delivering a number of bombshell selections in his long tenure as Wales coach but Wayne Pivac managed to even outdo him earlier this morning when he named his first Six Nations squad.

In total, there were five uncapped players – four of whom are English-based. Into the mix come WillGriff John, the Sale prop, Will Rowlands – one of six second-row forwards named in the squad; Nick Tompkins, the Saracens centre who won an U20 World Cup with England, before transferring allegiance. Meanwhile, Louis Rees-Zammit, the Gloucester winger and Johnny McNicholl are the other uncapped players.

The surprises didn’t stop there, though. Back into the fold come Seb Davies, Jonah Holmes and interestingly, Owen Williams, the versatile back who may compete with Tompkins for a starting spot on the Welsh side alongside Hadleigh Parkes at centre.

Tompkins, the 25-year-old, joined Saracens in 2012 and has clocked up over 100 appearances for the club.

John, at 27, has been in the Welsh system since he was 16-years-old, playing for their underage international teams at three grades. Rees-Zammit, too, has represented Wales at underage. Still just 18, his call-up was flagged in advance, the main surprise being Rowlands, given Wales’ depth in the second-row.

There is also the noteworthy return of both Taulupe Faletau – two years on since he last played in the Six Nations as well as scrum-half, Rhys Webb. Key absentees include Ospreys pair, Aled Davies and Nicky Smith. Bradley Davies was also omitted. 


Wales’ 2020 Six Nations Squad:

Forwards: Rhys Carre, Rob Evans, Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Ken Owens, Leon Brown, WillGriff John, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Seb Davies, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Will Rowlands, Cory Hill, Aaron Shingler, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric.

Backs: Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Williams, Jarrod Evans, Hadleigh Parkes, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, George North, Josh Adams, Owen Lane, Johnny McNicholl, Louis Rees-Zammit, Jonah Holmes, Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams.

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