Shock as Wales leave out Hook, Jones

Date published: October 21 2014

Wales and Lions pair Adam Jones and James Hook are major casualties in Warren Gatland’s squad for the November Tests.

Wales and Lions pair Adam Jones and James Hook are major casualties in Warren Gatland’s squad for the November Tests.

Uncapped prop Nicky Smith (Ospreys) is the only potential debutant named in the 34-man group group to face Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa.

Other notable absentees from the squad include Matthew Rees, Rhys Patchell, Eli Walker and Ian Evans.

In the front-row, former Wales U20 prop Smith, who has started all seven of the Ospreys’ encounters this season, joins the experienced Gethin Jenkins and Paul James. Richard Hibbard and Emyr Phillips, who both missed the two-Tests against the Springboks in June return to the squad alongside Scott Baldwin
Aaron Jarvis and Scarlets duo Samson Lee and Rhodri Jones make-up the front-row contingent.

Bradley Davies returns from injury to be named along with British and Irish Lions duo Alun Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris as well as Scarlets’ Jake Ball.

Captain Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and James King all return from injury and join Dan Lydiate, Taulupe Faletau and Dan Baker in the back-row.

Mike Phillips, Rhys Webb and Rhodri Williams are named as the scrum-halves with Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland as the fly-halves.

Five further British and Irish Lions are named in the backs, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Alex Cuthbert, George North and Leigh Halfpenny. They are joined by Scarlets duo Scott and Liam Williams, Cory Allen and Dragons pair Hallam Amos and Tom Prydie.

“We are really happy with the squad, there is a lot of experience that has come back in, 12 players who were injured in the summer and didn’t tour South Africa, they are back and fit and we have a couple of exciting youngsters as well,” said Gatland.

“Nicky Smith has been playing exceptionally well for the Ospreys and we have been impressed with him and it’s a great opportunity.

“When you look through the squad there is a huge amount of experience. “We’ve taken a lot of things into account and made some tough decisions.

“We’ve had to weigh up a balance of players who play in Wales and outside, due to how often they can train and are with us but we are really happy with the squad.

“We are looking to the future and the next twelve months ahead with this squad but it doesn’t close the door for anyone not selected.”

Wales squad for November:

Forwards: Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester Rugby), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Luke Charteris (Racing M