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By Jake Jones
England-based trio Josh Adams, Tomas Francis and Luke Charteris have been released from Wales’ summer tour squad.
The June 2 clash between Wales and South Africa in Washington DC falls outside World Rugby’s June Test window, and players located in England will not be made available by Premiership Rugby for the Springboks fixture.
The Welsh Rugby Union announced that Worcester wing Adams, Exeter prop Francis and Bath lock Charteris have been released from the squad as they were not available for the whole tour.
The trip also features games with Argentina on June 9 and 16 in San Juan and Santa Fe respectively..
The WRU said Northampton wing George North and Gloucester back-row forward Ross Moriarty, who are returning to Wales to join the Ospreys and Dragons respectively this summer, will tour.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “We are really disappointed that Josh, Tomas and Luke have to miss out on the opportunity to tour with Wales and play international rugby this summer.
“It was a great opportunity for them to play for their country, press their claim in an important year, and it is a shame supporters will not get to see them in the red of Wales.
“The situation is very clear for players playing in England going forward and heading into a Rugby World Cup year.
“With the players unavailable to link up with the squad until the week of our second Test match, we have had to replace them in the squad.”`
Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt and his fellow uncapped team-mate, forward Aaron Wainwright, have been called into the squad, along with Ospreys prop Rhodri Jones.
Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman said; “We are delighted for Ashton to have the opportunity to join Wales on the summer tour. He is a very exciting player and he showed a lot of leadership quality for us on and off the field this season.
“Aaron has had a rapid rise through our development pathway and his consistency led him to being involved in 25 matches this season. He was voted Dragons Young Player of the Season recently and he has the potential to go on to be a great player at the highest level of the game.”
In a further setback, Cardiff Blues back-row forward Josh Navidi has been ruled out of the tour due to a dislocated shoulder suffered during last Friday’s European Challenge Cup final victory over Gloucester in Bilbao.
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