Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland has named a 34 man squad to play in the upcoming End Of Year Tours (November Internationals) which features just one uncapped player but no place for Adam Jones and James Hook.
Instead of British & Irish Lions prop Jones, 20-year-old Ospreys prop Nicky Smith has been called into the 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.
In the front-row, former Wales Under 20 prop Smith, who has started all seven of the Ospreys’ encounters this season, joins the experienced Gethin Jenkins and Paul James.
Wales coach Warren Gatland fired an early shot at the All Blacks’ World Cup defence, suggesting the New Zealanders may be hampered by their weak pool.
New Zealand and Wales face vastly different challenges to make the World Cup playoffs. The All Blacks head Pool C that includes the improving Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia.
In contrast, Wales find themselves in the “pool of death” with hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.
Warren Gatland’s role in helping to broker peace in Welsh rugby’s civil war has included the adoption of a rule preventing players who ply their trade overseas being available for the national team.
After months of bickering, Wales’ national body and its four regions have agreed to terms, signing a £60 million (NZ$118m) deal for six years.
With finances approved, it is hoped the clubs and country will be able to stop the player drain to competitions like the lucrative French club scene.
The Times reported that equally important in the attempt to plug the talent drain was a new ruling, dubbed “Gatland’s Law”, under which players plying their trade outside Wales would be unavailable for selection for the national team.
The Welsh Rugby Union and the nation’s four regions could announce a deal this week to end almost two years of in-fighting over funding and control.
Wales captain Sam Warburton is expected to be joined by nine more players on dual contracts under the new agreement.
If the deal goes ahead, funding for the 10 will be in addition to an annual £6.7m shared between Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Dragons.
The WRU and regions have been asked to comment.
Their last deal ended in June 2014, and if a fresh settlement is not forthcoming the regions face a combined £6.7m shortfall going into the 2014-15 season.
The controversial penalty try two minutes from time which condemned Wales to a heartbreaking 31-30 defeat has not been argued by Warren Gatland.
Wales, having held leads of 17 and 13 points at different stages, were up 30-24 with just over two minutes remaining when Hendricks escaped the clutches of George North down the touchline.
It left fullback Liam Williams covering across to make a try-saving tackle, but he made no effort to wrap his arms around Hendricks and instead shoulder-charged him into touch.
Walsh referred the incident to the TMO, Glenn Newman, and after seeing replays from several angles the referee explained his decision at length to Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones before heading under the posts to award the penalty try.
Warren Gatland hopes Wales will “right the wrongs” of last week’s 38-16 thumping at the hands of the Springboks, when the teams play their second Test in Nelspruit on Saturday.
“We have been really happy with the response from the players during training this week, we have had a good week and we see Saturday as an opportunity to right the wrongs of last weekend,” said Gatland, announcing two changes to the side that got hammered in Durban.
“We were disappointed with last week’s display but we want to finish the season with a big performance and show what we know we are capable of.”
Wales, and British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has been awarded an OBE in the Queens Queen’s birthday honours.
Gatland is currently on tour with Wales in South Africa where they lost the opening test of two matches 38-16 but he said that being honoured was a massive honourt.
“I was surprised really,” said Gatland.
The Springboks completed a successful first match of their season on Saturday against Nick Mallet’s World XV at Newlands but the first proper international action for them starts this weekend as the Castle Lager Incoming Series gets underway with a Test against Wales in Durban on Saturday.
There often is debate and criticism about the make up of squads that Northern Hemisphere countries send on these mid-year tours which take place after their taxing domestic seasons. This year though the two teams due to play against South Africa have got good reason to be fielding teams which are going to be under strength in certain areas. The Test against Scotland falls outside the international window and so their players who ply their trade outside Scotland will not be making the trip over. The tour for Wales has been made much harder due to numerous injuries, no least to inspirational captain Sam Warburton.
The bookmakers have installed South Africa as overwhelming favourites, but Wales coach Warren Gatland has his eye on a 2-0 sweep for his team.
If Gatland was a betting man he would have jumped at the 18-1 on offer by some SA bookies for a Welsh series win.
It is not surprising for a coach to publicly back his side, but Gatland went further by suggesting that only 2-0 series victory will do when they meet the Springboks in Durban (this Saturday 14 June) and Nelspruit (next week, 21 June).
Wales coach Warren Gatland has warned that he might consider not selecting England-based players in future.
The Premiership clubs have said they may not release Welsh players for a trial game on 30 May in Swansea as it is not a Test match.
Negotiations are ongoing, but Gatland remains concerned by the continuing uncertainty over player availability for Wales duties.
The Welsh Rugby Union have revealed on Thursday that they will stage their first full trial match in 14 years ahead of next month’s two-Test South Africa tour.
Rob Howley will coach the Probables, with his fellow Wales assistant Robin McBryde in charge of the Possibles for a game that will take place at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium on 30 May.
Adam Jones has spoken about reaching some personal landmarks, the motivation of having two young Wales tight-heads after the number three jersey, and looking forward to another tour to South Africa.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has revealed that his star fullback Leigh Halfpenny will miss the rest of the season after dislocating his shoulder in the 29-18 loss to England at Twickenham.
Ryan Jones has been ruled out of Wales’ Six Nations campaign because of a hamstring injury. The 32-year-old back-row forward led Wales in three of their matches in the 2013 tournament as they retained the Championship title.
Gethin Jenkins has been included in a 32-man Wales squad for the Six Nations despite concerns over his damaged knee. The 33-year-old prop had a scan on Monday after he was injured in Cardiff Blues’ Heineken Cup defeat by Toulon.
Injury concerns are threatening to overshadow Wales coach Warren Gatland’s Six Nations squad announcement on Tuesday.
Wales are bidding to win a third outright title in succession, something never achieved before in the tournament’s history.
Warren Gatland has extended his contract as Wales coach until the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
This is the second extension of the contract between the WRU and the New Zealander who was originally appointed as head coach of Wales in 2007.
The British & Irish Lions of 2013 were named team of the year and Warren Gatland won the top coach honour at the 2013 BBC Sports Personality awards. Kiwi Gatland, 50, led the Lions to their first Test series win in Australia for 16 years.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has confirmed that he would be interested in coaching the British and Irish Lions when they tour his country of birth New Zealand in 2017.
A rip-roaring contest and magnificent entertainment it may have been, but Welsh faces after yet another defeat by Australia spoke only of more misery and another missed opportunity.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie is calling Wales’ bluff, saying the Six Nations champions are ”worried” about falling to their ninth straight loss to Australia in Cardiff this weekend.
A combined total of only three points has separated the Lions and Australia over the first two Tests. Now it’s onto the iconic ANZ Stadium in Sydney for a titanic decider that promises to be just as tight.
Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones will captain the Lions in the final Test against Australia on Saturday after Brian O’Driscoll was dropped from the squad. Irishman O’Driscoll was favourite to replace injured skipper Sam Warburton.
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland rung the changes for Saturday’s crucial second Test against the Wallabies, beefing up his pack for a “do or die” battle against the Australians.
Welsh Rugby Union chief Roger Lewis says the home nations need to look at how the money made from the British and Irish Lions tours is divided up.
Coach Warren Gatland named his first British & Irish Lions Test team – the starting fifteen featuring eight new caps and eight Welshman.
The British & Irish Lions will play the Wallabies in the first of the three-Test series in Brisbane on Saturday.
The team will be captained by Welshman Sam Warburton.
Less than a week ahead of the first British and Irish Lions test against Australia, former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer has labelled the visitors as cheats because of illegal scrummaging and other rule infringements.
Lions coach Warren Gatland responded by saying he’s sad at the “tirade of abuse” that the former World Cup-winning Dwyer’s comments have attracted on social media.
Ireland wing Simon Zebo will make his British and Irish Lions debut against New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday. Zebo joined the squad as cover on Tuesday and goes straight into a strong side containing up to a dozen likely Test contenders.
England centre Billy Twelvetrees is joining the British and Irish Lions’ tour of Australia as cover for the tourists’ injury-affected backline. Twelvetrees, 24, has been on England duty in Argentina, scoring a try in the 32-3 win over the Pumas at the weekend.
Scotland prop Ryan Grant has been called into the British and Irish Lions squad ahead of the clash with Queensland Reds. The Glasgow loose-head had been in South Africa with Scotland for a quadrangular tournament.
After six months’ planning and three weeks’ training, coach Warren Gatland finally begins his British and Irish Lions adventure in earnest on Saturday with what should be a gentle opening match against the Barbarians to open the 125th anniversary tour.
Warren Gatland has named 17 new British & Irish Lions in his 23 strong matchday squad to tackle the Barbarians in the opening game of the 125th anniversary tour in Hong Kong on Saturday.
Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best has been called up to the British and Irish Lions squad for their tour to Australia, which begins with a trip to Hong Kong to face the Barbarians next Saturday.
British and Irish Lions tour manager Andy Irvine has announced the squad of 37 players for the upcoming tour of Australia which starts at the beginning of June. The squad will be captained by Sam Warburton who was introduced to the media, gathered in London for the announcement, by head coach Warren Gatland.
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland says that he is wary of selecting too many English players for the Lions tour to Australia in June.