Wales senior men’s head coach Waren Gatland has named a 37-player squad for the 2023 Guinness Six Nations campaign.
Ken Owens will captain the squad for the championship.
Wyn Jones, Dewi Lake and Liam Williams return to the squad having missed the Autumn Nations Series due to injury. There are also recalls for Leon Brown, Rhys Carre, Rhys Patchell, Aaron Wainwright, Rhys Webb and Owen Williams.
Four uncapped players are selected. Rhys Davies, who was called into Wales camp during the autumn, features alongside Ospreys team mate Keiran Williams plus Cardiff Rugby duo Mason Grady and Teddy Williams.
Another six players could be in line to make their first Six Nations appearance including Rio Dyer, Joe Hawkins and Dafydd Jenkins, who made their international debuts last November.
Gatland said: “It’s probably a bigger squad than I’d normally name, but we want to have a good Six Nations and also look forward to the world cup.
“We’ve some youngsters that have come in and then we’ve some older very experienced players that we need to manage. It’s looking at the whole element for the squad and how we get the balance right, because that’s definitely going to be a challenge over the next ten months.
“There are some players that were unlucky they didn’t’ make the squad, so the message to them is keep working hard you’re not out of the picture.
Regarding the captaincy, Gatland added: “Ken’s incredibly experienced and a passionate Welshman – it means a lot to him to play for Wales. He’s also very popular with the players.
“He came back from injury and was absolutely outstanding during the autumn campaign. Probably, if you’re picking a team at the moment he’s the number one in that position. But he’s going to have some competition with Dewi and Bradley as well which is going to be great.”
The squad will meet up at the national training base in Hensol on Monday 23 January ahead of its first game against Ireland which will take place at a sold out Principality Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday 4 February (KO 14.15h).
In addition, Jonathan Thomas is confirmed as the final appointment to the Wales senior men’s coaching team. He will have responsibility for the contact area.
Former Worcester Warriors head coach Thomas, who won 67 caps for Wales between 2003 and 2011, has most recently been working as a forwards consultant for Ealing Trailfinders. He also spent four years at Bristol Bears as defence and forwards coach, helping them achieve promotion to the Premiership and win the European Challenge Cup.
Thomas took up his coaching role at Bristol immediately after finishing his successful 14-year playing career where he represented Swansea, Ospreys and Worcester at club level. During his 67-cap international career, Thomas was involved in every Wales game during the 2005 and 2008 Grand-Slam winning campaigns. He went to two Rugby World Cups (2003 and 2007) and appeared in every Wales senior men’s Six Nations squad between 2004 and 2011.
Speaking about his appointment Thomas said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be part of the coaching team. As a passionate Welshman my dream and ambition growing up was to play for Wales. Since finishing playing and going into coaching my ambition has been to become part of the international coaching set up.
“Being successful and inspiring our great country is what it’s all about and I’m determined to support and help make a difference to the players and staff.”
WALES SQUAD FOR 2023 Guiness Six Nations
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby 17 caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 45 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 17 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 8 caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets – 86 caps), Captain
Bradley Roberts (Dragons – 3 caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons – 22 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 67 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 45 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 41 caps)
Rhys Davies (Ospreys – uncapped)
Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 1 cap)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 155 caps)
Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 95 caps)
Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 6 caps)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 4 caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 89 caps)
Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs – 3 caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 36 caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 16 caps)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys – 36 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 40 caps)
Dan Biggar (Toulon – 103 caps)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets – 21 caps)
Owen Williams (Ospreys – 3 caps)
Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Joe Hawkins (Ospreys – 1 cap)
George North (Ospreys – 109 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 25 caps)
Keiran Williams (Ospreys – uncapped)
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 44 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 55 caps)
Rio Dyer (Dragons – 3 caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 97 caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 22)
Liam Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 81)
Images & Content – Wales Rugby
Blade And Milne Join Ireland Squad For France Week
Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade and Leinster loosehead prop Michael Milne have joined the Ireland squad today as the group assembled this afternoon at the IRFU High Performance Centre in Dublin.
Blade was capped against the USA in July 2021 while the uncapped Milne was part of the Emerging Ireland squad that competed in Bloemfontein in the Autumn.
Jamison Gibson-Park and Cian Healy, who were both late withdrawals from the Wales game due to hamstring injuries, have been ruled out of contention for the France game. Tadhg Furlong, who is rehabbing a calf issue, is also not being considered for selection this week.
Gibson Park, Healy and Furlong will continue their rehab programmes with the Ireland medical team.
Johnny Sexton will complete the HIA process later today and Ronan Kelleher is due to return to training this week.
Roman Salanoa and Tom Stewart who joined the squad last week have been retained for preparations ahead of Round 2 of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championships
Ireland Squad 2023 Guinness Six Nations – Round 2:
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 42 caps
Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians) 1 cap
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 15 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 8 caps
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 98 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 23 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians) 9 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 26 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Marys College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 16 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 10 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 101 caps
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 3 caps
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas) *
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 110 caps (c)
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 28 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 37 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 34 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 24 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 63 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 121 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 69 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 32 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 18 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 49 caps
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) 1 cap
Michael Milne (Leinster/UCD) *
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 90 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 5 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps
Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians) 1 cap
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps
Roman Salanoa (Munster/Shannon) *
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 14 caps
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch) *
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 46 cap
*denotes uncapped player
2023 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures:
IRELAND v France
Saturday 11th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio
Italy v IRELAND
Saturday 25th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio
Scotland v IRELAND
Sunday 12th March 2023, KO 15:00 (IST)
RTE TV / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio
IRELAND v England
Saturday 18th March 2023, KO 17:00 (IST)
VIRGIN / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
England team to face Scotland in Six Nations opener
Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his England debut at left wing, Max Malins returns to the side at right wing and Freddie Steward is named at full back.
Owen Farrell captains the side from inside centre and is joined in the midfield by Joe Marchant. Marcus Smith is at fly-half with Jack van Poortvliet at scrum half.
The front row is made up of vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler with Jamie George at hooker. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum start at lock, while Ben Curry makes his second appearance for England at open-side flanker. Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt complete the back row.
Jack Walker is in line to make his England debut after being named as a substitute, Anthony Watson could make a first England appearance since March 2021, and if Dan Cole comes off the bench he will earn a 96th Test cap.
Mako Vunipola, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs and Ollie Lawrence make up the remaining replacements.
“There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup,” said Borthwick.
“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world. There is no doubt this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.
“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.”
England Match Day Squad
15. Freddie Steward
14. Max Malins
13. Joe Marchant
12. Owen Farrell (C)
10. Marcus Smith
1. Ellis Genge (VC)
2. Jamie George
4. Maro Itoje
6. Lewis Ludlam
7. Ben Curry
16. Jack Walker
17. Mako Vunipola
18. Dan Cole
19. Nick Isiekwe
20. Ben Earl
21. Ben Youngs
22. Ollie Lawrence
23. Anthony Watson
Scotland name team to face England in 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener
Head coach Gregor Townsend has named his squad to face England in the opening fixture of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations this Saturday as Scotland bid to retain the Calcutta Cup.
Leading his side in the championship for the first time, blindside flanker Jamie Ritchie is joined at openside by Luke Crosbie, whose excellent recent form is rewarded with a second start for Scotland, with Matt Fagerson completing the back row.
In the second row, the experienced Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, who is named as Vice Captain, resume a partnership that impressed during last year’s Autumn Nations Series.
Pierre Schoeman starts at loosehead prop in what is a 17th consecutive international since his 2021 debut, with the evergreen WP Nel – who reached 50 caps in November – selected at tighthead and George Turner named at hooker.
In the back division, scrum-half Ben White will link up with stand-off Finn Russell, a year on from his try-scoring debut in the Calcutta Cup at BT Murrayfield.
Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones are named as a centre pairing, the former having scored his first tries for Scotland in November’s win over Argentina, with the latter having notched no fewer than four tries against England in as many games against them.
In the back three, Scotland’s record try-scorer Stuart Hogg continues at full-back, with Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn lining up on the wings.
Townsend has selected a bench with a 5-3 split between forwards and backs, with Glasgow Warriors clubmates Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan and Jack Dempsey, alongside Jonny Gray, listed as pack replacements. George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Chris Harris complete the matchday squad as substitute options.
Scotland team to face England in the Guinness Six Nations opener on Saturday, 4 February at Twickenham, kick-off 4.45pm, live on STV and ITV
15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) 96 caps
14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 23 caps
10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) 65 caps
9. Ben White (London Irish) 9 caps
1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 16 caps
2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 30 caps
3. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 50 caps
4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 69 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – Vice Captain – 59 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – Captain – 36 caps
7. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) 2 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps
16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 57 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 25 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
19. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) 72 caps
20. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 18 caps
22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 38 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) 39 caps
Tickets for Scotland’s match against Italy at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 18 March are still available HERE
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