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Welsh Rugby

WalesWales 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.

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Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny

Cardiff Blues and Ospreys are interested in signing Leigh Halfpenny if his Toulon contract is terminated.

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal says Halfpenny’s ongoing injuries could lead to his departure without playing a game since arriving for 2014-15.

Blues director and Wales legend Gareth Edwards said: “We’d welcome him with open arms.”

Ospreys coach Steve Tandy said: “We’d always be interested in the quality of Halfpenny, but it’s paper talk.”

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WalesWith Welsh Rugby getting ready for the competitive part of the 2014/15 season, which starts on Friday, we have a look at the big name moves, including the ins and outs at the four Welsh regions and a look at some of the player and coach movements outside the country.

Adam Jones became the biggest Welsh rugby headline-stealer with his shock signing for Cardiff Blues after being an Osprey since 2003.

But the British and Irish Lions prop’s switch after season-long speculation was not the only move to make fans sit up and take notice.

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WalesThe 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.

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Gareth Anscombe

Gareth Anscombe

Outgoing Chiefs and Auckland utility back Gareth Anscombe said that he decided to switch his allegiance from New Zealand to Wales after realising he had little hope of making the All Blacks.

Anscombe, 23, who has signed to play for the Cardiff Blues, said he spoke with All Black coach Steve Hansen earlier this year and found he was well down the pecking order in his favoured position of flyhalf.

“There was a lot of factors, but I mean, there’s a lot of classy No 10’s that are floating around in New Zealand right now and they’re all pretty young as well,” he said.

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Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

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.”

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WalesWales have made two changes to their side to face South African in the second match of the two-Test series in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Scarlets prop Samson Lee will make his first start for Wales in the front row and flank Josh Turnbull comes into the starting XV after featuring from the bench last weekend.

Lee, who made his international debut last November against Argentina, will join Gethin Jenkins and Ken Owens in a new look front row.

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Adam Jones

Adam Jones

WalesAdam Jones will make his 100th International appearance in the game at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban, in a match that will be his 95th cap for Wales (five appearances for the British and Irish Lions).

Gatland has named two uncapped players in his match day squad with Scarlets scrum-half Gareth Davies and Ospreys’ Matthew Morgan, who both impressed in recent outings, named as replacements.

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WalesThe 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.

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Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

WalesThe 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).

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Dan Lydiate

Dan Lydiate

WalesDan Lydiate will captain Wales in their opening game in South Africa against Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

The British and Irish Lions flanker has recovered from a hamstring injury to lead a match day squad that includes all four uncapped players who have made the journey to South Africa.

Three of those players are named in Warren Gatland’s starting XV with Matthew Morgan lining up at full-back, Steven Shingler at inside centre and Jordan Williams on the wing.

They are joined in the backline by Cardiff Blues duo Alex Cuthbert and Cory Allen as well as James Hook and Rhodri Williams at half back.

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WalesLock Bradley Davies will miss Wales’ two-Test tour to South Africa in June because of a hamstring injury.

The Cardiff Blues lock, 27, who is heading to Wasps, suffered the problem in training and has undergone surgery.

Meanwhile, Racing Metro flanker Dan Lydiate is out of Friday’s Wales Probables v Possibles trial in Swansea.

But Lydiate’s hamstring strain is not expected to rule him out of the tour, which starts with a warm-up against Eastern Province Kings on 10 June.

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Owen Williams

Owen Williams

WalesLeicester flyhalf Owen Williams will miss Wales’ tour of South Africa in June after being given a six-week ban which sidelines him until 1 September.

Williams, 22, would have been hoping to earn his first senior cap in the Test series with the Springboks, but the Rugby Football Union has handed a lengthy suspension to Williams, who pleaded guilty for acts contrary to good sportsmanship.

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WalesWales 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.

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WalesEngland’s leading clubs will not allow players to take part in the Wales trial on Friday, 30 May.  The availability of some Wales stars was in any case in doubt because the Aviva Premiership final takes place a day later.

A spokesman said Premiership Rugby’s Wales players would not be free for the trial as it falls outside the International Rugby Board (IRB) window.

But Wales remain hopeful of reaching a deal over England-based players.

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WalesThe 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.

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ospreysHanno DirksenWing Hanno Dirksen has signed a new three-year Ospreys contract keeping him at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the 2016-17 season.

He has been signed up ahead of the region’s final RaboDirect Pro12 clash of the season with Connacht on Saturday.  Dirksen, 23, is the 13th player to re-commit to the region along with the likes of Alun Wyn Jones and Dan Baker.

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WalesThe Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is hopeful of ending the lingering fall-out with its four regional sides to establish a proper domestic structure next season, chairperson David Pickering said.

The four Welsh regions refused to renew the existing “rugby services agreement” with the WRU before the governing body’s 31 December deadline.

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Sam WarburtonWalesWales captain Sam Warburton must undergo immediate surgery after dislocating his right shoulder.

Wales have never faced South Africa in the north-eastern city of Nelspruit, but judging by the blank they have drawn everywhere else in the land of the Springboks, they must already be fearing the worst – especially as Sam Warburton, their captain, has been ruled out of this summer’s two-Test tour.

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WalesFranceWales (20) 27 / 6 (6) France (Final Score)

Wales and France did battle in the Six Nations tournament at

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff at 22:00 SA Time (20:00 GMT, 21:00 French Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & SHD on TV in SA.

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WalesItalyWales (17) 23 / 15 (3) Italy (Final Score)

Wales and Italy did battle in the Six Nations tournament at

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 GMT, 15:30 Italian Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & SHD on TV in SA.

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WalesSam WarburtonWales captain Sam Warburton has ended speculation about his future by signing a national contract with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

Warburton’s salary will be paid by the WRU but he will continue to play for Cardiff Blues and will be released for games outside his Wales duties at no cost to the region.

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