Six Nations: Wales name Dan Biggar as captain in absence of Alun Wyn Jones

Date published: January 18 2022 - Planet Rugby

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has named fly-half Dan Biggar as captain in the absence of second-row Alun Wyn Jones ahead of this year’s Six Nations.

British & Irish Lions legend Jones is among a number of high-profile absentees as the reigning champions begin preparations for their title defence.

Other players not part of the squad due to injuries are George North, Leigh Halfpenny, Ken Owens, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau.

Ross Moriarty makes the cut

But back-row Ross Moriarty, who has not played rugby since the autumn due to a shoulder problem, does make Wales coach Pivac’s 36-man group.

The squad includes three uncapped players in hooker Dewi Lake, his Ospreys colleague – flank Jac Morgan – and Cardiff number eight James Ratti.

Stalwart Jones has undergone two shoulder operations since being hurt during Wales’ Autumn Nations Series opener against New Zealand in October.

Hooker Owens, meanwhile, has a back problem, while Tipuric and Navidi have shoulder issues, North and Halfpenny are recovering from knee injuries and Faletau has not played this season because of ankle trouble.

Biggar is set to lead Wales for the first time in the opening game of their Six Nations title defence against Ireland in Dublin on February 5. Ospreys lock Adam Beard will be Biggar’s vice-captain.

Another five players could be in line to make their Six Nations bows – a list that includes Exeter forward Christ Tshiunza and Ulster hooker Bradley Roberts.

On 32-year-old Biggar’s appointment, Pivac said: “In terms of captaincy, we’ve named Dan Biggar.

“With the experience missing, we wanted someone who had experienced the competition on a number of occasions and knows the rigours of it.

“He gives us that. He has 95 Wales caps and he has toured with the British and Irish Lions.

“Dan has the respect of the other players and management, so we think he will do a great job.”

Wales’ first home game is against Scotland on February 12, with the Welsh government announcing last week that spectators can return to matches following a lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions that took effect on Boxing Day.

Pivac added: “It’s fantastic news that we will continue to have crowds at Principality Stadium. We have the most incredible fans, and the atmosphere they create is second to none.

“The Guinness Six Nations is a very special competition and we want to go out and win, like every other nation.

“This is tournament rugby, so it is about working hard in training and preparing well each week.

“Last year, the Six Nations offered fans an exciting brand of rugby with lots of tries, and while we know we have five tough matches ahead and the margins in Test rugby are fine, we are looking forward to the challenge.

“With the World Cup on the horizon next year, every match will be important for development on the road to France.”

Wales squad for the 2022 Six Nations

Forwards: Rhys Carre Wyn Jones, Gareth Thomas, Ryan Elias, Dewi Lake, Bradley Roberts, Leon Brown, Tomas Francis, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Ben Carter, Seb Davies, Will Rowlands, Christ Tshiunza, Taine Basham, Ellis Jenkins, Jac Morgan, Ross Moriarty, James Ratti, Aaron Wainwright

Backs: Gareth Davies, Kieran Hardy, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar (c), Rhys Priestland, Callum Sheedy, Jonathan Davies, Uilisi Halaholo, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, Josh Adams, Alex Cuthbert, Louis Rees-Zammit, Johnny McNicholl, Liam Williams