Warren Gatland offers good and bad news for Cardiff Blues players with summer squad

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland today named a 31-man squad to take on South Africa and Argentina this summer, with Ellis Jenkins named co-captain as one of six Cardiff Blues players included in the touring party.

However, there is no room for two of the in-form young players in the country, Jarrod Evans and Owen Lane, who will spend the summer at home despite winning plaudits aplenty for their league and European performances this season.

Taking a slimline squad has clearly meant some tough decisions for Gatland, who takes Dillon Lewis as one of three tighthead props, but leaves Kristian Dacey at home with only two hookers selected.

Dillon Wales U20
Dillon Lewis is amongst the tighthead props selected

Seb Davies is included, but as one of five players selected who would count second row as their primary position, it is possible he may be pressed into action at blindside flanker or even number eight again with only five back-rowers included.

In better news though, two of those five are Cardiff Blues with Josh Navidi again included after another highly impressive season for us, and in the red of Wales, with many agreeing he was a candidate for Six Nations player of the tournament.

Ellis Jenkins is also selected, and as a well deserved co-captain alongside Cory Hill, after returning from a hamstring injury to put in a number of fine performances as Cardiff Blues qualified for next season’s Champions Cup and made it to the European Challenge Cup Final.

Josh Navidi South Africa
Josh Navidi has made the step up to international rugby seemlessly

Into the backs and there is another richly deserved call-up for Tomos Williams, who will hope to make it third time lucky in winning a Wales cap after being an unused member of last summer’s party that toured Tonga and Samoa and the recent Six Nations squad.

He is joined in the half-back ranks by Gareth Anscombe, who will be looking to do battle with ex-Cardiff Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell for the red number 10 jersey after impressing in the Six Nations.

However, taking just two fly-halves means Jarrod Evans will stay at home this summer despite being the man wearing the Cardiff Blues number 10 jersey ahead of Anscombe in this final part of the season.

Jarrod Evans Zebre
Jarrod Evans is left at home despite his superb form for Cardiff Blues

Owen Lane, who has scored six tries in 11 Pro14 games since bursting onto the scene in November, will also spend the summer putting his feet up after seeing Tom Prydie of the Scarlets selected ahead of him.

Another Cardiff Blues player who might feel somewhat unfortunate to miss out on the squad is Josh Turnbull, who has been the ‘Mr Consistent’ of the Cardiff Blues squad this season, and could have adequately covered lock and across the back row in a slimmed down touring party.

Away from Cardiff Blues players though, there is a recall for Luke Charteris who hasn’t played for Wales since last year’s Six Nations, no out-and-out full-back is selected, with Anscombe, Patchell, Hallam Amos and Josh Adams competing for the 15 jersey, while Gareth Davies is deemed fit despite limping off in the Scarlets game on Saturday.

Owen Lane Edinburgh
Owen Lane has been one of the breakthrough players in Wales this season

A number of recognised senior players, including Ken Owens, Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny are given the summer off after coming off a 12-month run of playing stretching back to last year’s British and Irish Lions tour.

Wales squad to face South Africa (in Washington) and Argentina

Forwards: Rob Evans, Wyn Jones (both Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Elliott Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias, Samson Lee (both Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Cory Hill (Dragons)(Co-Captain), Luke Charteris (Bath), Seb Davies (Cory Hill), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), James Davies (Scarlets), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues)(Co-Captain)

Backs: Gareth Davies, Aled Davies (both Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues)*, Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Hadleigh Parkes, Scott Williams (both Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Worcester), Steff Evans (Scarlets), George North (Northampton), Tom Prydie (Scarlets), Hallam Amos (Dragons)

*denotes an uncapped player

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