Wales Squad Announced With Some Key Admissions

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Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland has named an experienced 34-man squad for the forthcoming Dove Men Series that features just one uncapped player.

Ospreys prop Nicky Smith, 20, is called into the senior squad for the first time and features alongside 12 players who return to International duty after missing the summer tour to South Africa.

Gatland’s side take on Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa on consecutive weekends in November as the countdown begins to next year’s Rugby World Cup.

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In the front-row, former Wales U20 prop Smith, who has started all seven of the Ospreys’ encounters this season, joins the experienced Gethin Jenkins and Paul James. Richard Hibbard and Emyr Phillips, who both missed the two-Tests against the Springboks in June return to the squad alongside Scott Baldwin, Aaron Jarvis and Scarlets duo Samson Lee and Rhodri Jones make-up the front-row contingent.

Bradley Davies returns from injury to be named along with British and Irish Lions second row Alun Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris as well as Scarlets’ Jake Ball.

Captain Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and James King all return from injury and join Dan Lydiate, Taulupe Faletau and Dan Baker in the back-row.

Mike Phillips, Rhys Webb and Rhodri Williams are named as the scrum-halves with Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland as the fly-halves.

Five further British and Irish Lions are named in the backs, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Alex Cuthbert, George North and Leigh Halfpenny. They are joined by Scarlets duo Scott and Liam Williams, Cory Allen and Dragons pair Hallam Amos and Tom Prydie.

“We are really happy with the squad, there is a lot of experience that has come back in, 12 players who were injured in the summer and didn’t tour South Africa, they are back and fit and we have a couple of exciting youngsters as well,” said Gatland.

“Nicky Smith has been playing exceptionally well for the Ospreys and we have been impressed with him and it’s a great opportunity.

“When you look through the squad there is a huge amount of experience. “We’ve taken a lot of things into account and made some tough decisions.

“We’ve had to weigh up a balance of players who play in Wales and outside, due to how often they can train and are with us but we are really happy with the squad.

“We are looking to the future and the next twelve months ahead with this squad but it doesn’t close the door for anyone not selected.”

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WALES SQUAD 2014 DOVE MEN SERIES:
Forwards:
 Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester Rugby), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), James King (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, CAPT), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Dragons).
Backs: Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), James Roberts (Racing Metro), Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Hallam Amos (Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Tom Prydie (Dragons), Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

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