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6 Nations

Wales men’s squad named for 2024 Guinness Six Nations

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Dafydd Jenkins will captain the squad for the Championship and is in line to become the second youngest men’s player to lead Wales in a match.

Five uncapped players are selected among the 19 forwards and 15 backs: Cardiff Rugby back rows Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin plus their club teammates hooker Evan Lloyd and full-back Cameron Winnett, as well as tighthead prop Archie Griffin (Bath Rugby).

07.10.23 – Wales v Georgia – Rugby World Cup, France 2023 – Pool C – Dafydd Jenkins of Wales at full time.

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Another eight players could make their first Six Nations appearance this Championship, including Keiron Assiratti, Corey Domachowski, Cai Evans, Kemsley Mathias, Joe Roberts and Teddy Williams who all made their international debuts last summer plus Scarlets duo Sam Costelow and Ioan Lloyd.

There are recalls for Ospreys centre Owen Watkin and Cardiff Rugby back row James Botham in a Wales squad that has an average age of 25.

Gatland said: “There’s a little bit of experience in terms of players like George North and Gareth Davies – we wanted a little bit of continuity with that and we’re also thinking about the next RWC cycle and giving some youngsters an opportunity, some youngsters that are not featuring regularly for their club sides.

“I’m really excited about those youngsters and that opportunity to develop them over the next four years. The average age of the squad is about 25 compared to a little bit older during RWC and then you look at this next cycle and you want to get those players to mid to late 20s in terms of experience and age.

“What I’ve learned in the past is that even though we’ve done all that hard work in terms of preparation and build up to the RWC. For me it’s about going back the start a little bit, going back to honing the basics and hammering away at that and almost like starting again. You have to reset in terms of our goals and what we want to achieve. I think Scotland at home is a good game for us, they’re a quality side, they’ll be disappointed with what happened with them in terms of not getting out of the pool at the world cup.

07.10.23 – Wales v Georgia – Rugby World Cup, France 2023 – Pool C – George North, Dafydd Jenkins, Will Rowlands and Gareth Thomas sing the anthem.

“For us it’s a great game to start at home with a full crowd, packed stadium, exactly what you want under a bit of pressure. If you can get off to a good start and win your opening game then it gives you an opportunity to go further in the tournament.

“This first game is incredibly important to us and those first two weeks in terms of putting in the hard word and bringing the squad together. I hope people can see that what we’re trying to do with the team is to develop some of these youngsters to help support the regions I think that’s really, really important in terms of us working together as a collective going forward – developing the young players but also preparing for a good Six Nations and for the future.”

Regarding the captaincy, Gatland added: “We’ve been incredibly impressed with Daf in terms of his professionalism and how he prepares. It’s a great opportunity for Daf, he’s captained Exeter on a number of occasions, he’s a well-respected member of the squad. I rang and spoke to him and he was absolutely delighted to accept the role and I’m sure that he’ll do a great job and get a huge amount of support from the rest of the squad.”

The squad will meet up at the national training base in Hensol on Monday 22 January ahead of its first game against Scotland which will take place at a sold out Principality Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday 3 February (KO 16.45h).

WALES SQUAD FOR 2024 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS

Forwards (19)

Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 6 caps)

Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets – 1 cap)

Gareth Thomas (Ospreys / Gweilch – 26 caps)

Elliot Dee (Dragons / Dreigiau – 46 caps)

Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 38 caps)

Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped / heb gap)

Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 2 caps)

Leon Brown (Dragons / Dreigiau – 23 caps)

Archie Griffin (Bath Rugby – uncapped / heb gap)

Adam Beard (Ospreys / Gweilch – 51 caps)

Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 12 caps)

Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 29 caps)

Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 1 cap)

Taine Basham (Dragons / Dreigiau – 16 caps)

James Botham (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 9 caps)

Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)

Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)

Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers / Caerlŷr – 13 caps)

Aaron Wainwright (Dragons / Dreigiau – 43 caps)

Backs (15)

Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 74 caps)

Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 18 caps)

Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 53 caps)

Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 8 caps)

Cai Evans (Dragons / Dreigiau – 1 cap)

Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 2 caps)

Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 6 caps)

George North (Ospreys / Gweilch – 118 caps)

Joe Roberts (Scarlets – 1 cap)

Nick Tompkins (Saracens / Saraseniaid – 32 caps)

Owen Watkin (Ospreys / Gweilch – 36 caps)

Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 53 caps)

Rio Dyer (Dragons / Dreigiau – 14 caps)

Tom Rogers (Scarlets – 3 caps)

Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)

2024 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS FIXTURES

Saturday 3 February: Wales v Scotland (SOLD OUT) Principality Stadium, Cardiff KO 16.45 GMT

Saturday 10 February: England v Wales Twickenham Stadium KO 16.45 GMT

Saturday 24 February: Ireland v Wales Aviva Stadium, Dublin KO 14.15 GMT

Sunday 10 March: Wales v France Principality Stadium, Cardiff KO 15.00 GMT

Tickets available: www.wru.wales/tickets

Saturday 16 March: Wales v Italy Principality Stadium, Cardiff KO 14.15 GMT

Tickets available: www.wru.wales/tickets

 

Content & Images from – Wales Rugby


6 Nations

Wales team to face Ireland in Dublin named

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Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named the Wales side to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the third round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 24 February (KO 2.15pm live on ITV and S4C).

There is one change to the starting XV that played England at Twickenham on 10 February, with Sam Costelow returning for Wales at fly half.

Among the replacements back-row Mackenzie Martin is in line to win his first senior cap this weekend and would become the 1,200th Wales men’s international.

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Tight-head prop Dillon Lewis would be making his first appearance of this Championship if called on from the bench.

Gatland said: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We’ve made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 24 February KO 2.15pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C.
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain / Capten
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)

Replacements

16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


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6 Nations

Jager and Ahern Join Ireland Squad Ahead Of Wales

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The Ireland squad re-assembled in Dublin on Sunday evening ahead of this weekend’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations Round 3 clash against Wales at Aviva Stadium (Kick-off 2.15pm).

Prop Oli Jager has joined the squad and Thomas Ahern has also linked up with Andy Farrell‘s side at the IRFU High Performance Centre this week.

Iain Henderson picked up a foot injury during Ulster’s URC game away to Ospreys on Sunday and there will be a further update later in the week.

The Ireland Match Day Squad to face Wales at Aviva Stadium will be named on Thursday at 2pm.

Ireland Squad – Wales Week: 

Backs (15):

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht)
Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
James Lowe (Leinster)
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster)

Forwards (21):

Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)*
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster)
Oli Jager (Munster)*
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jeremy Loughman (Garryowen/Munster)
Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(captain)
Tom O’Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)

*Denotes uncapped player

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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6 Nations

O’Connell Gives Update On Keenan As Ireland Return To Training

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Hugo Keenan is Ireland’s main injury concern ahead of Saturday week’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations clash with Wales. The ever-influential full-back took a blow to his left knee during the win over Italy.

Keenan sustained the injury when falling awkwardly in a 52nd-minute tackle from Italian replacement Giosuè Zilocchi. He was replaced shortly afterwards by Harry Byrne, with Jack Crowley switching to the full-back position.

The 27-year-old Dubliner has become central to Andy Farrell’s plans in a short space of time, with his 15s international debut coming just over three years ago. He has accumulated more match minutes than any other player so far during Farrell’s coaching reign.

He has started 38 of Ireland’s last 42 Test matches, and Jimmy O’Brien and Michael Lowry are the only other players who have worn the number 15 jersey during that time.

Asked about Keenan’s likely availability for the third round of the Six Nations, Ireland forwards coach Paul O’Connell said: “Hugo didn’t train today, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the Welsh game yet.

“He’s progressing with his rehabilitation, he was there at training today and took part in the organisational bits, but I have no full update. He’s still available for selection for Wales, but I’m not sure what will happen in the next few days.

“He plays a big role, he’s obviously been injury-free for a long time. He’s an excellent player and in full-back, covering the back-field defensively, he has a lot of work to do in attack as well, recreating our attack by moving side to side.

“There’s a lot of IP (intellectual property) there that we might miss out on if he wasn’t playing. He also plays a big leadership role for us, he’s a very smart guy.

“He’s a problem-solver within the group and highly regarded within the group. Whether he’s there or not, he’ll continue to play that role.”

Keenan has had a strong start to the tournament, with his individual highlights including his try-saving tackles on Damian Penaud, including one which drove the French dangerman back a few feet, and an electric break against Italy from Craig Casey’s kick over the top.

He has an 85.7% tackle success rate, including two dominant hits and a turnover tackle. In attack, he has had gain-line success with two-thirds of his carries in the Championship, and has the team’s best tackle evasion rate of 47.1%.

If the Leinster star is ruled out when Ireland resume their campaign next week, the versatile Ciaran Frawley, Jordan Larmour, Jacob Stockdale, Calvin Nash, or indeed Crowley, could be options to fill the full-back berth.

Larmour, who returned to international action last Sunday for the first time since 2021, made nine starts at full-back between 2018 and 2020. Farrell handed him the number 15 shirt for his first game in charge of Ireland four years ago.

Last August against Italy, Frawley made his debut as a half-time replacement for O’Brien at full-back. He has started six times in the position for Leinster this season, with Stockdale, Nash and Crowley also having provincial experience in the back-field.

As O’Brien and Mack Hansen are also injury-enforced absentees, O’Connell admits that it could provide an opportunity to build more depth in that area if Keenan is unable to recover in time.

“It’s good for us in some ways because it makes us play someone else there if he doesn’t make it,” commented the Limerick man, who is in his fourth Men’s Six Nations campaign as part of the Ireland coaching group.

“I’m not sure yet, I don’t pay as much attention to the backs, but I’m not sure yet where  Hugo is at. As I said, he was around training today, so we’d be hopeful.”

Meanwhile, Garry Ringrose is on track to play some part against Wales at the Aviva Stadium having returned to training. He missed the opening two rounds due to a shoulder injury.

“Yeah it looks like it, he trained today,” O’Connell said of Ringrose. “We didn’t do a massive session today but he trained today and was in good shape.

“No one else sat out training, no, so they’re all good to go, I believe.”

That includes captain Peter O’Mahony (calf), Tadhg Furlong (calf), and Bundee Aki (knee), who all sat out the 36-0 bonus point victory over Italy as they recovered from their respective knocks.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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