Gatland names one new cap
October 20, 2009
Warren Gatland has named one new cap in his squad © Getty Images
Gareth Cooper Warren Gatland Gethin Jenkins Stephen Jones Dan Lydiate Dwayne Peel Mike Phillips Jamie Roberts Martyn Williams
Wales coach Warren Gatland has named just a single new cap in his squad for their forthcoming November Tests as he seeks to build consistency.
Wales face New Zealand, Argentina, Samoa and Australia in a tough schedule and will be hoping to follow up last season's 21-18 victory over the Wallabies with another southern hemisphere scalp.
Dragons back-row Dan Lydiate has been rewarded for good domestic form with his first-call-up, while the most high-profile omission comes in the form of Ian Gough. The 61-times capped Ospreys lock is joined on the sidelines by regional team-mate Andrew Bishop.
Ryan Jones has retained the captaincy and is joined by senior figures in Stephen Jones, Shane Williams, Tom Shanklin and Mark Jones. Alun-Wyn Jones, Matthew Rees, Leigh Halfpenny, Andy Powell, James Hook and Jamie Roberts will all return to Wales colours after their British & Irish Lions exertions.
Gatland's squad is missing several leading lights, with scrum-half Mike Phillips, fullback Lee Byrne, lock Ian Evans and props Adam Jones, John Yapp and Rhys Thomas all ruled out by injury. Ospreys product Craig Mitchell looks set to take the place of Jones in the starting XV, with his team-mates Paul James and Duncan Jones both earning international recalls.
Phillips' long-term injury sees Gareth Cooper, Martin Roberts and Dwayne Peel selected as the scrum-half options. Peel is unavailable for the opening showdown with the All Blacks on November 7 as his club, Sale, are not bound by the participation agreement and will therefore not release him as the Test falls outside the designated IRB window.
Peel is the only player currently plying his trade outside Wales to have been selected, with his club team-mate Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Gloucester fly-half Nick Robinson and Wasps scrum-half Warren Fury all missing out.
Two sizable boosts come in the form of Blues duo Martyn Williams and Gethin Jenkins however, who have returned ahead of schedule from shoulder surgery following the Lions tour.
"The selection process has been relatively simple for us, generally we have gone for the incumbents in their positions at regional level and selection reflects the good form our Welsh sides have shown already so far this season," said Gatland. "Dan Lydiate is a good example of someone who has let his form do the talking and he deserves his chance as does Sam Warburton, who also impressed the coaches on tour this summer.
"Craig Mitchell keeps his place after making his debut on that tour and, as a recognized tight-head, he is definitely someone we are looking to develop, although both Gethin Jenkins and Paul James are in consideration as props who can play on both sides of the scrum.
"It's ironic that we will have Dwayne to train with is for three days in Test week, but that he will have to go back to Manchester on match-day, but it is something we have long been made aware of, accepted a long time ago and have made allowances for."
Wales Squad for Tests against New Zealand, Samoa, Argentina and Australia:
Forwards: Paul James (Ospreys), Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Craig Mitchell (Ospreys), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Newport-Gwent Dragons), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, captain), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), Dan Lydiate (Newport-Gwent Dragons), Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues)
Backs: Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Tom James (Cardiff Blues), Mark Jones (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Tom Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), James Hook (Ospreys), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Gareth Cooper (Cardiff Blues), Dwayne Peel (Sale Sharks), Martin Roberts (Scarlets)