Rugby Union: Humphreys loses Welsh captaincy

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The Independent Online
Gwyn Jones will lead the 30-strong Wales squad on their six-match tour of North America in July. The 24-year-old flanker takes over the captaincy from his Cardiff club-mate, Jonathan Humphreys.

The squad includes nine uncapped players for a three-week trip that includes two Tests against the United States and one against Canada.

Kevin Bowring, the Welsh coach, believes the tour will play a major part of the development process for the 1999 World Cup and hopes the change in captaincy will allow Humphreys to return to his best form.

"Jonathan has shown great courage and passion playing for Wales and outstanding commitment as captain. However, the responsibility of captaincy has affected his own game," Bowring said.

"He has often tried to cover up for the inadequacies of others and done his utmost to stop Wales losing at all costs. This has affected his individual performance and sometimes his decision-making on the field.

"Without the responsibility of captaincy I feel he will regain his confidence and further develop his all-round game."

WALES Squad (to tour United States and Canada): Backs: M Back (Swansea), K Morgan (Pontypridd), W Proctor (Llanelli), G Wyatt (Pontypridd), N Walker (Cardiff), D James (Bridgend), G Thomas (Bridgend), L Davies (Cardiff), N Boobyer (Llanelli), J Lewis (Pontypridd), A Thomas (Swansea), L Jarvis (Cardiff), P John (Pontypridd), A Moore (Richmond). Forwards: C Loader (Swansea), I Buckett (Swansea), L Mustoe (Cardiff), C Anthony (Swansea), J Humphreys (Cardiff), R McBryde (Llanelli), G Llewellyn (Harlequins), S Moore (Swansea), M Voyle (Llanelli), N Watkins (Neath), A Gibbs (Llanelli), C Charvis (Swansea), R Appleyard (Swansea), G Jones (Cardiff, capt), S Williams (Neath), C Wyatt (Llanelli).

n Ireland A turned in an encouraging second-half display against Bay of Plenty but still slumped to a third consecutive defeat, this time by 52-39, on their trip to New Zealand.

n Richard Loe, the former All Black prop, yesterday announced his retirement from rugby due to a serious neck injury.

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