Johnny McNicholl has been given another opportunity to impress following his uncapped appearance against the Barbarians last year, while 18-year-old Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit has also been called up.
The only other uncapped back-liner is centre Nick Tompkins, while the two other players in line for their debuts are prop WillGriff John and lock Will Rowlands.
Elsewhere Taulupe Faletau is in line to make his first appearance in the competition since 2018 following injuries during last year’s tournament, while Rhys Webb has been selected as one of three scrum-half options and could make his first appearance in red since 2017 following a move to Toulon, while Owen Williams could have his first piece of action since the same time.
Meanwhile, Alun Wyn Jones continues as captain and there is the inclusion of Liam Williams, who has been out of action since October after picking up an injury during Wales’ Rugby World Cup campaign.
Speaking on his selection Pivac admitted he is looking forward to getting into the thick of things with his new side.
“We are really excited to be naming our Six Nations squad and kicking the campaign off. A lot of time and effort has gone into selecting the squad, all of the coaches have been out and about, seeing players in training, speaking with them and we are pretty excited with the group we have got. Looking back to the Barbarians week, that was hugely important for us. We got a lot of ‘firsts’ out of the way, getting to meet and get in front of the players and having a game together was hugely beneficial. We do have a couple of injuries but we flip that into seeing it as an opportunity for some new players to impress, with not only the Six Nations in mind but also longer-term and 2023. The Six Nations is hugely exciting for me, it is something I grew up watching from afar and it has such history attached to it, I’m really looking forward to the campaign,” he said.
Wales are looking to defend their Grand Slam from last season in what was Warren Gatland’s final campaign as head coach and get their tournament underway with a clash against Italy.
Check Out the Full 38-Man Squad Below.
Rhys Carre (Saracens) (6 Caps)
Rob Evans (Scarlets) (36 Caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (22 Caps)
Elliot Dee (Dragons) (29 Caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (9 Caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets) (73 Caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons) (6 Caps)
WillGriff John (Sale) (*uncapped)
Dillon Lewis (Blues) (22 Caps)
Jake Ball (Scarlets) (42 Caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys) (20 Caps)
Seb Davies (Blues) (7 Caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (134 Caps) (CAPTAIN)
Will Rowlands (Wasps) (*uncapped)
Cory Hill (Dragons) (24 Caps)
Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (26 Caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (18 Caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (72 Caps)
Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (41 Caps)
Josh Navidi (Blues) (23 Caps)
Justin Tipuric (Osprey) (72 Caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (51 Caps)
Rhys Webb (Toulon) (31 Caps)
Tomos Williams (Blues) (16 Caps)
Dan Biggar (Northampton) (79 Caps)
Owen Williams (Gloucester) (3 Caps)
Jarrod Evans (Blues) (3 Caps)
Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (25 Caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens) (*uncapped)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (22 Caps)
George North (Ospreys) (91 Caps)
Josh Adams (Blues) (21 Caps)
Owen Lane (Blues) (2 Caps)
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) (*uncapped)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester) (*uncapped)
Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers) (3 Caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (85 Caps)
Liam Williams (Saracens) (62 Caps)
Pivac names squad for 2021 Six Nations
The squad features one uncapped player, Scarlets back-row Josh Macleod, who was named in the autumn squad last year but didn’t feature after picking up an injury before the campaign began.
Four players who made their international debuts in that campaign, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Johnny Williams and Louis Rees-Zammit are all included.
Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones and Rhodri Jones (last appearance for Wales v South Africa in 2018) are named as the looseheads in the squad with Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias and Ken Owens (who missed the autumn campaign through injury) the hookers. Leon Brown, Tomas Francis and Dillon Lewis are the three named tight-heads.
Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Will Rowlands and Cory Hill are included as the second-rows.
Dan Lydiate returns to the international set-up (last appearance v Australia in 2018) and is named alongside Josh Navidi, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Macleod and Justin Tipuric.
Hardy who made his debut back in November is named as one of three scrum-halves along with Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams, who has returned from injury. Dan Biggar, Jarrod Evans and Sheedy are the three fly-halves.
Johnny Williams, Jonathan Davies, Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin are named as the centres with George North, Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Rees-Zammit, Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams named as Wales’ back-three options.
“We are hugely looking forward to meeting up as a squad on Monday and to the forthcoming campaign,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“The Guinness Six Nations is an important tournament and we have selected a squad accordingly.
“As we consistently spoke about, the autumn for us was about opportunity and development, looking ahead to RWC 2023 and it served that purpose for us.
“This campaign is different, it is tournament rugby and we are excited to get going and to play our part.
“We have picked a squad for this tournament based on form and we are excited to meet up on Monday and to get our preparation underway.”
Scotland name Six Nations squad.
The group, split between 20 forwards and 15 backs, sees eight new players called up who did not feature in the group that contested the recent 2020 Autumn Nations Cup.
In the pack Glasgow Warriors hooker George Turner is selected and joined in the front row by Zander Fagerson and Oli Kebble from Glasgow Warriors, alongside Edinburgh Rugby representatives WP Nel, Rory Sutherland and Simon Berghan.
Glasgow Warriors’ lock pairing Richie Gray and Scott Cummings, Exeter Chief, Jonny Gray are called up, along with Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist who left the ANC squad with an injury before the opening match.
Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie, who have both recently re-signed to long-term deals to stay at Edinburgh Rugby, are joined as back-row options by Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson and Scarlet’s Blade Thomson.
Gregor Townsend has chosen just two scrum-half’s for this campaign with Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price and Harlequins’ Scott Steele selected.
Linking up at half-back will be Racing 92’s Finn Russell who returns following an injury sustained in the concluding match of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations vs Wales and Edinburgh’s Jaco Van de Walt who made his Scotland debut in the ANC semi-final against Ireland.
Gloucester’s Chris Harris, Saracen Duncan Taylor, Glasgow Warrior Huw Jones and Harlequins’ James Lang are selected at centre.
In the back three Scotland Captain Stuart Hogg is joined by Edinburgh Rugby trio Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham and Duhan van de Merwe and Saracens’ Sean Maitland.
With an eye to the future three additional players have been invited to train with the squad during the campaign. Edinburgh Rugby back row forward, Rory Darge, Glasgow Warriors pair winger, Rufus MacLean and scrum-half, Jamie Dobie will join up with the squad, which goes into camp on Sunday.
Speaking on the squad selection Gregor Townsend said: “As coaches we have selected a group which we believe can build on the work our players put in throughout the recent Autumn Nations Cup campaign and kick on again in terms of performance levels.
“The depth we have across the squad enables us to bring in some new players who have excelled in recent weeks and others who we believe can perform at Test level.
“Our tournament gets off to a fantastic start with a fixture we look forward to every year against England and the opportunity to win back the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham.
“We are very aware how different this year’s competition will be due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it also provides a huge amount of positivity and enjoyment for millions of supporters and we are looking forward to contesting every match and giving this championship our very best.”
Paul O’Connell Joins Ireland Coaching Group
Former Ireland captain Paul O’Connell has joined the Ireland national coaching group as forwards coach with Simon Easterby to focus on defence.
Paul was capped 108 times by Ireland and captained the team to Six Nations success in 2014. O’Connell’s distinguished playing career also included seven Test match appearances for the British & Ireland Lions across three tours and two Heineken Cup titles with Munster.
Since retiring from playing in 2015, Paul has held coaching positions with the Munster Academy, Ireland Under-20s and Top 14 side Stade Francais.
“I am really looking forward to working with Andy and the rest of the coaching group. I worked with Simon as a player and am looking forward to working with him again. It’s an exciting young group of players to be involved with and there are talented forwards coming through across the four provinces that will no doubt be pushing for international selection in the coming months and years.”
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell commented:
“Paul brings a wealth of rugby knowledge with him and as forwards coach he will have responsibility for the forwards including the line-out working alongside John (Fogarty). He will also be another strong voice and leader within the group.
“Simon (Easterby) has a real passion for defence and having developed Ireland’s forward play over the past six years with the additional responsibility for the defence over the past 12 months, he will now be able to focus his energy and rugby intellect on this area of our game.
“The weekend’s Interpro games and the European fixtures in the weeks ahead will give players the opportunity to push for selection for the Six Nations squad. The squad will not be selected until after the Champions Cup Round 4 fixtures have been completed.”
IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora, commented: “Paul is a young Irish coach with a huge amount of international rugby experience. We have been keen to find the right opportunity for him within Irish Rugby and we think the fit with the national squad will work well. He joins the national coaching group with immediate effect as they prepare for the upcoming Six Nations Championship.”