Six Nations: Warren Gatland includes injured trio Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies and Gethin Jenkins in 32-man squad

Davies is not expected to return until March at the earliest while Warburton has been sidelined in recent weeks

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named a 32-man squad for this season's RBS 6 Nations title defence.

There are no uncapped players in Gatland's group, which will be captained by last year's British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton.

Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies, who is not expected back in action until early March while he continues his recovery from a chest muscle injury, is in the squad, but there is no place for Cardiff Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams.

Gatland will also need to run the rule over Warburton, who has been sidelined in recent weeks due to injury, while his fellow Blues forward Gethin Jenkins went off injured during last Saturday's Heineken Cup defeat against Toulon.

Wales are seeking to become the first country in Six Nations history to win a hat-trick of titles. They kick off their campaign at home to Italy on February 1.

Former Blues centre Jamie Roberts, now with Paris-based Racing Metro, also features after he missed this season's autumn internationals because of injury.

Williams, meanwhile, loses out behind Gatland's preferred scrum-half trio of Mike Phillips, Rhodri Williams and fit-again Ospreys number nine Rhys Webb.

The squad contains 28 players who have been part of previous Six Nations-winning groups, with Gatland opting for a split of 13 backs and 19 forwards.

"We have got an opportunity to create history, and that is something we will focus on and something that will give us extra motivation," Gatland said.

"We have got the three games at home and two tough away games, but when we won the Grand Slam in 2008 and 2012 we had these fixtures, so we know it can be done.

"The Six Nations is always a tough competition. You need a little bit of luck and momentum, and that's why we need to start well against Italy first up.

"We've picked a pretty experienced squad and kept it fairly tight at this stage.

"There is a possibility we may add one or two players in. There are a few younger guys that need a bit of rugby, so we were keen for them to stay with the region. Perhaps after the first couple of rounds when they have some more rugby under their belts we may add them into the squad.

"One of the things we have tried to create is an environment where the players look forward to coming into the national team. We are blessed with some of the best facilities and the best stadium in the world, so there is no lack of motivation for the players when they come in to the squad."

Welsh rugby is currently in the grip of a volatile political climate due to an ongoing dispute between the Welsh Rugby Union and Wales' four professional regions.

But Gatland added: "We know there are some politics going on at the moment, but we will put that to one side, come together as a group and focus on the rugby and what we can control.

"We can't wait to kick off the tournament at home against Italy."

Gatland's squad will assemble next Monday.

Wales squad for the 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship:

Backs: L Williams (Scarlets), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), G North (Northampton), A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Scarlets), J Roberts (Racing Metro), J Davies (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan), R Priestland (Scarlets), D Biggar (Ospreys), M Phillips (Racing Metro), R Williams (Scarlets), R Webb (Ospreys).

Forwards: P James (Bath), G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), R Bevington (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), R Hibbard (Ospreys), K Owens (Scarlets), E Phillips (Scarlets), A-W Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Perpignan), I Evans (Ospreys), A Coombs (Newport Gwent Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), J Tipuric (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), D Lydiate (Racing Metro), A Shingler (Scarlets), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

PA

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks