Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has named his 38-man squad for the Six Nations, his first in charge.
It features five uncapped players in Gloucester sensation Louis Rees Zammit, Sale prop WillGriff John, Wasps lock Will Rowlands, Saracens centre Nick Tompkins, and Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl.
Rees-Zammit’s whirlwind start the 2020 has seen him win the Premiership player of the month award for December, after establishing himself as one of the English league’s most electric prodigies.
A new contract came his way at Kingsholm this week and now a first Test cap on February 1 is in the offing for the 18-year-old.
Glamorgan-raised Rees-Zammit has shut down the advances from England to commit for the country of his birth, but former England U20 back Tompkins has made himself available for Wales after being contacted by Pivac.
While John and Rowlands can make their debuts at the Principality Stadium against Italy. An experience McNicholl has already tasted albeit during the uncapped match versus the Barbarians last November.
Elsewhere, Taulupe Faletau’s return to full fitness at Bath has seen him included after having to pull out of Wales’ squads for last year’s Six Nations and the World Cup due to injury.
Alun Wyn Jones will skipper the team in the tournament, which will allow him to close in on 150 caps.
The lock, currently on 143, can reach the unprecedented milestone this year and pass Richie McCaw (148) as rugby’s most-capped international.
In announcing the squad, Pivac said: “We are really excited to be naming our Six Nations squad and kicking the campaign off.”
“A lot of time and effort has gone into selecting the squad, all of the coaches have been out and about, seeing players in training, speaking with them and we are pretty excited with the group we have got.
“Looking back to the Barbarians week, that was hugely important for us. We got a lot of ‘firsts’ out of the way, getting to meet and get in front of the players and having a game together was hugely beneficial.
“We do have a couple of injuries but we flip that into seeing it as an opportunity for some new players to impress, with not only the Six Nations in mind but also longer term and 2023.
“The Six Nations is hugely exciting for me, it is something I grew up watching from afar and it has such history attached to it, I’m really looking forward to the campaign.”
Rhys Carre (Saracens) (6 Caps)
Rob Evans (Scarlets) (36 Caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (22 Caps)
Elliot Dee (Dragons) (29 Caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (9 Caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets) (73 Caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons) (6 Caps)
WillGriff John (Sale) (*uncapped)
Dillon Lewis (Blues) (22 Caps)
Jake Ball (Scarlets) (42 Caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys) (20 Caps)
Seb Davies (Blues) (7 Caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (134 Caps) (CAPTAIN)
Will Rowlands (Wasps) (*uncapped)
Cory Hill (Dragons) (24 Caps)
Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (26 Caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (18 Caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (72 Caps)
Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (41 Caps)
Josh Navidi (Blues) (23 Caps)
Justin Tipuric (Osprey) (72 Caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (51 Caps)
Rhys Webb (Toulon) (31 Caps)
Tomos Williams (Blues) (16 Caps)
Dan Biggar (Northampton) (79 Caps)
Owen Williams (Gloucester) (3 Caps)
Jarrod Evans (Blues) (3 Caps)
Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (25 Caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens) (*uncapped)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (22 Caps)
George North (Ospreys) (91 Caps)
Josh Adams (Blues) (21 Caps)
Owen Lane (Blues) (2 Caps)
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) (*uncapped)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester) (*uncapped)
Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers) (3 Caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (85 Caps)
Liam Williams (Saracens) (62 Caps)
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