Wales coach Warren Gatland has named his squad to contest the 2011 Six Nations Tournament, controversially omitting Wales’ stalwart flanker Martyn Williams just two tests short of 100. The 35 year old Williams has been on three British and Irish Lion tours and first debuted for Wales in 1996. He retired from international rugby following the 2007 Rugby World Cup but when Gatland took over coaching Wales in 2008, Williams was asked to come out of retirement and went on to help Wales achieve the Grand Slam that year. His non-selection for the Six Nations Tournament leaves his international career in limbo, along with his chances of reaching 100 tests and equalling the test cap record held by Gareth Thomas.
Rhys Priestland, Josh Turnbull, Toby Faletau and props Scott Andrews and Ryan Bevington are the uncapped players in the squad. Wales’ record try scorer Shane Williams has overcome injury to gain selection along with Lee Byrne and Leigh Halfpenny.
Matthew Rees retains the Wales’ captaincy after Ryan Jones was controversially stripped of it following the game against Fiji last year. Usually a loose forward, Ryan Jones retains his place in the squad, but as a lock along with regulars Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies. Veteran lock Ian Gough has missed selection.
Wales Six Nations Squad:
Forwards: Paul James (Ospreys), John Yapp (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Ospreys), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, captain), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Andy Powell (Wasps), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Dan Lydiate (Dragons).
Backs: Mike Phillips (Ospreys), Dwayne Peel (Sharks), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), James Hook (Ospreys), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys), Morgan Stoddart (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), Lee Byrne (Ospreys).