Pivac stamps his mark on Wales Six Nations squad

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Wayne Pivac has sprung a number of surprises in his first Six Nations squad as Wales head coach, naming five uncapped players and recalling a number of familiar faces.

The most notable selections are those of Will Rowlands and Nick Tompkins, who form two of 10 players in the 38-man squad currently plying their trade outside of Wales, either in the Gallagher Premiership or Top14.

Second row Rowlands, 28, is at Wasps where he has spent his whole career since graduating the Academy after gaining a degree from Oxford University. The 6ft8in, 19.5st man has made 79 appearances in all competitions under Dai Young, with five of them coming this season either side of a knee problem.

Centre Tompkins is a former England U20 star, winning the World Rugby U20 Championship with them and gaining two England Saxons caps, but not ending up tied to the country. Another one-club man, the 24-year-old has 112 appearances for Saracens, scoring 34 tries and can operate at either inside or outside centre.

Elsewhere there are first call-ups for Sale tighthead prop WillGriff John and Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit, while Scarlets back three player Johnny McNicholl is technically part of the uncapped group as his appearance against Barbarians in November did not earn him a cap.

Louis Rees Zammit Gloucester

Owen Williams and Jonah Holmes are both included having been left out of the World Cup and Barbarians squads, while Rhys Webb returns after being given special dispensation to be picked ahead of his summer move back to Ospreys and Taulupe Faletau is included after recovering from injury.

Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Josh Navidi, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Owen Lane and Josh Adams form the Cardiff Blues contingent but there is no room for Corey Domachowski, Josh Turnbull, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Ben Thomas or Hallam Amos.

Elsewhere Dragons Taine Basham, Ollie Griffiths, Rhodri Williams and Sam Davies are overlooked, Ospreys Bradley Davies, Aled Davies, Scott Williams and Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler are excluded while Josh MacLeod, Kieran Hardy, Steff Hughes and Steff Evans don’t make it from the Scarlets.

Wales’ campaign starts on Saturday 1st February as we host Italy at the Principality Stadium.

Wales Six Nations squad

Forwards: Rhys Carre (Saracens), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Leon Brown (Dragons), WillGriff John (Sale), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, captain), Will Rowlands (Wasps), Cory Hill (Dragons), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)

Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Toulon), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Northampton), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), George North (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues), Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues), Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Saracens)

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