Wales announce Squad for Tour to South Africa

May 17 • International, World Rugby • 1364 Views • Comments Off on Wales announce Squad for Tour to South Africa

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Cardiff Blues back-row forward Andy Powell was recalled to the Wales squad on Sunday as national coach Warren Gatland named three uncapped players for the June Test against South Africa and the tour of New Zealand.
The new men are the Scarlets trio of scrum-half Tavis Knoyle, hooker Ken Owens and flanker Rob McCusker.

Meanwhile, Powell has been forgiven for being charged with driving a golf buggy while over the limit the morning after Wales’ Six Nations victory over Scotland in February.

Gatland had already confirmed the absence of four players from next month’s fixtures, with scrum-half Dwayne Peel and flanker Martyn Williams both being rested, while centre James Hook requires shoulder surgery and lock Luke Charteris has been troubled by a neck problem.

After tackling the world champion Springboks in Cardiff on June 5, Wales face the All Blacks in Dunedin on June 19 and then Hamilton seven days later.

Elsewhere, Cardiff Blues prop John Yapp returns to the squad following injury, while 18-year-old Ospreys wing Tom Prydie, who became Wales’ youngest international when he made his debut against Italy in March, also features.

“I am a great believer in ’if you are good enough you are old enough,’ and that applies to the likes of both Tom and Tavis Knoyle,” said Gatland.

“We have gone very much for continuity of selection and kept the squad small, but there are also a couple of youngsters in there who we are going to stick by.

“Tom will gain experience from being with us — Shane Williams and even Lee Byrne aren’t going to be around forever — and he is someone who can cover those positions and who we are excited about.

“We are excited about Tavis as well. He is a big strong lad, someone who has been compared to Mike Phillips on the pitch.

“He has a good pass and some real speed and he has the frame there as well, so he has it all going for him and he has some real potential.

“Rob (McCusker) comes in as well with a real opportunity to move himself up the pecking order.

“He perhaps wouldn’t have had the chance if Martyn had been with us or if Dan Lydiate at the Dragons had been fit, but he has an opportunity now.

“We have been impressed with his form for the Scarlets and he has played some sevens for Wales, and there is no doubting he has the pace and ability.”

Wales squad to play South Africa in Cardiff on June 5 and for the summer tour of New Zealand:

Backs: Lee Byrne (Ospreys), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Shane Williams (Ospreys), Tom Prydie (Ospreys), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Ospreys), Richie Rees (Cardiff Blues), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets).

Forwards: Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), John Yapp (Cardiff Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Deiniol Jones (Cardiff Blues), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues), Rob McCusker (Scarlets), Ryan Jones (Ospreys).

[Info from SAPA-AFP]

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