Uncapped Ospreys duo in Wales squad

Date published: October 18 2016

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Wales head coach Rob Howley has named a 36-man squad for the forthcoming November Test series and included two uncapped players, Ospreys duo Sam Davies and Rory Thornton.

The squad includes a further seven players who didn't feature for Wales on their summer tour to New Zealand, including the return from injury of British and Irish Lions trio Alex Cuthbert, Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Lydiate.

Cardiff Blues prop duo Rhys Gill and Scott Andrews also return to the squad along with Ospreys loosehead Nicky Smith and number eight Dan Baker.

In the pack Gethin Jenkins, Tomas Francis and Samson Lee join the three props already named with Scott Baldwin, Kristian Dacey and Ken Owens completing the front-row contingent.

Thornton is joined by fellow regional second-rows Bradley Davies and Alun Wyn Jones along with Luke Charteris and Jake Ball.

Captain Sam Warburton, Ospreys pair James King and Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty and Taulupe Faletau complete the forwards named although Faletau will miss the start of the series. 

The 25-year-old limped off in his first game for Bath back at the start of the season in September, having suffered a suspected medial knee ligament injury.

Faletau, 25, has won 61 caps for Wales since making his international debut back in 2011.

Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb and Lloyd Williams are named as the three scrum-halfs in the squad with Gareth Anscome and Dan Biggar joining uncapped the Davies.

The centres comprise of Jonathan Davies, Tyler Morgan, Jamie Roberts and Scott Williams. Hallam Amos, George North and Liam Williams link up with the returning Cuthbert and Halfpenny across the back three.

"It is great to give the opportunity to players who are playing well for their clubs with the likes of Nicky Smith, Rhys Gill, Rory Thornton and Sam Davies coming into the squad," said Howley.

"In addition it's great to be able to welcome back experienced players such as Dan Lydiate, Alex Cuthbert and Leigh Halfpenny, who have missed out recently with injury and that experience will be important this autumn.

"Taulupe is still in his rehab process and has been working closely with Bath. We hope he will be available in the later part of the campaign, but his experience will be vitally important to have around the squad.

"We know we have to start the campaign strong and have to replicate the accuracy and intensity our opponents will bring to Cardiff. We need to build on what we did in New Zealand and take it up another level for that opening match against Australia."

The squad will meet up to begin preparations for the four-test campaign on Monday October 24 and face Australia in their opening encounter on November 5.

Rugby World Cup semi-finalists Argentina are the next opponents at Principality Stadium before Japan arrive in Cardiff and the campaign is concluded against South Africa on November 26.

Wales squad:

Forwards: Scott Andrews, Tomas Francis, Rhys Gill, Gethin Jenkins, Samson Lee, Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Kristian Dacey, Ken Owens, Jake Ball, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Rory Thornton, Dan Baker, Taulupe Faletau, James King, Dan Lydiate, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (c)

Backs: Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Lloyd Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar, Sam Davies, Jonathan Davies, Tyler Morgan, Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams, Hallam Amos, Alex Cuthbert, Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Liam Williams

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