UPDATED: Wales squad for 2018 summer tour
have called up Ashton Hewitt, Aaron Wainwright and Rhodri Jones to their squad for their summer tour as replacements for Josh Adams, Tomas Francis and Luke Charteris.
The move follows the news that Premiership Rugby will not release their players for the opening Test of the tour against South Africa on 2 June because the fixture falls outside the international window. As Adams, Francis and Charteris wouldn’t be available for all three matches of the tour, Warren Gatland and his coaching team have taken the decision to replace them.
George North and Ross Moriarty, who are returning to Wales next season, will still tour with the squad.
Josh Navidi has also been ruled out of the squad after dislocating his shoulder in Cardiff Blues’ European Challenge Cup win over Gloucester.
Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams had been the only uncapped player in the 31-man Wales squad for their three-Test summer tour, but Hewitt and Wainwright now take that tally to three.
Dragons lock Cory Hill and Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins have been named co-captains for the trip, which sees Wales face the Springboks in Washington DC on 2 June, followed by Tests against Argentina on 9 June (San Juan) and 16 June (Santa Fe) on the subsequent Saturdays.
“This summer is a great opportunity for this squad to build on their experience, get Test-match game time under their belt and face Rugby Championship opposition,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
Wait over: Scarlets wing Tom Prydie is picked five years after he last won a Wales cap (CameraSport)
“We’ve picked a squad of 31 to try to give players as much game time as possible. It shows the depth we have built in recent years that we have just one uncapped player in the squad in Tomos, but he has been in a number of squads so knows the environment well.
“We’ve picked Cory and Ellis as co-captains; they are both leaders and have experience captaining at regional level, so this is an opportunity for them to build on that. This summer is another step on our 2019 RWC path and a great opportunity to build on recent campaigns.”
Golden ticket: Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins goes as co-captain despite having started only one Test (Getty)
Moriarty and North, who have both missed significant game time because of injuries, are the only players named who went on last summer’s Lions tour to New Zealand. The absence of experienced regulars such as Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar, Ken Owens and Taulupe Faletau means Wales will be hard pressed to build on a largely successful Six Nations championship in which they finished runners-up to Ireland.
But Gatland is rightly resting key personnel ahead of next year’s World Cup and the tour will provide crucial further evidence on such issues as who should wear Wales’ No 10 shirt in bigger battles ahead and whether Scarlets flanker James Davies can force his way into the reckoning after a promising Test debut.
Taking a rest: Alun Wyn Jones gets a break one year on from his part in a drawn Lions series (Getty)
Gatland’s side have won their last two outings against South Africa, both in Cardiff, but a neutral venue in the US capital awaits for the opening tour clash.
Wales have won five out of the last six meetings against Argentina, all of which were at the Principality Stadium. On home soil, the Rugby Championship side have won three of the last four Tests against Wales (in 2004 and 2006) and the visitors’ last tour series win against the Pumas came in 1999 with the side captained by Rob Howley and featuring Neil Jenkins as his half-back partner.
Tickets for all three Tests are available online. For more information visit www.wru.co.uk/eng/news/40766.php
Wales squad for 2018 summer tour
Rob Evans (Scarlets) (25 caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (8 caps)
Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (18 caps)
Elliot Dee (Dragons) (7 caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (2 caps)
Rhodri Jones (Ospreys) (16 caps)
Samson Lee (Scarlets) (38 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (2 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys) (2 caps)
Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (62 caps)
Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues) (4 caps)
Cory Hill (Dragons) (15 caps) (co-captain)
James Davies (Scarlets) (1 cap)
Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) (6 caps) (co-captain)
Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) (20 caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (uncapped)
Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (17 caps)
Aled Davies (Scarlets) (8 caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (32 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (uncapped)
Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (15 caps)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (8 caps)
Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (5 caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (4 caps)
Scott Williams (Scarlets) (55 caps)
Hallam Amos (Dragons) (15 caps)
Steff Evans (Scarlets) (9 caps)
Ashton Hewitt (Dragons) (uncapped)
George North (Northampton) (73 caps)
Tom Prydie (Scarlets) (7 caps)