Northampton fly-half Dan Biggar has been named as Wales captain for this season’s Six Nations.
Biggar takes over from the injured Alun Wyn Jones who is among a number of high-profile absentees.
Other players not part of the squad due to injuries are Jones’ fellow British and Irish Lions George North, Leigh Halfpenny, Ken Owens, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau.
But flanker Ross Moriarty, who has not played since the autumn due to a shoulder problem, does make Wales head coach Wayne Pivac’s 36-man group.
The squad includes three uncapped players in hooker Dewi Lake, his Ospreys colleague – flanker Jac Morgan – and Cardiff number eight James Ratti.
Follow reaction and analysis below as Pivac reveals his 36-man squad:
That just about does us for The Independent’s live coverage of this morning’s squad announcements. It is a depleted Welsh squad that will bid to retain the Six Nations, but one possessing plenty of quality right across the pitch, while Eddie Jones has continued to look forwards rather than back with another intriguing group to assemble in Brighton next week.
We’ll have plenty more reaction and analysis over the next couple of days but, for now, thank you for joining us and do stay safe and well.
With Farrell as captain and Marcus Smith also included at fly-half, George Ford misses out again as Eddie Jones selects uncapped Bath youngster Orlando Bailey
Dan Biggar captains Wales squad for defence of Six Nations crown
Head coach Wayne Pivac has named three uncapped players in 36-man group.
In the end, there was no decision to be made at fly-half - Wayne Pivac has found space for all four of his preferred options at ten.
That perhaps means squeezing out an extra outside back, and you’d suggest that Owen Lane has been very, very unlucky.
Three uncapped players in Wales’ squad for Six Nations
With a number of experienced names absent, there are three new caps in Wayne Pivac’s squad. Jac Morgan is indeed included after impressing particularly over the ball for the Ospreys, while strong Cardiff back-rower James Ratti, who can also cover lock, makes the cut.
Dewi Lake has been there or thereabouts at hooker for a couple of years and, with Ken Owens one of those injured, has a chance to put himself in the mix for the number two shirt.
A high-profile list of absentees
Things haven’t been easy for Wayne Pivac picking this squad - take a look at this star-studded list of unavailable players:
Elliott Dee, Ken Owens, Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Josh Macleod, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Johnny Williams, George North, Leigh Halfpenny
Dan Biggar named Wales captain for the 2022 Six Nations
Dan Biggar has got the nod as Wales captain for the Six Nations in the absence of Alun Wyn Jones.
Wayne Pivac says of the fly-half: “In terms of captaincy we’ve named Dan Biggar. With the experience missing we wanted someone who had experienced the competition on a number of occasions and knows the rigours of it. He gives us that – he has 95 Wales caps and he’s toured with the British and Irish Lions. “Dan has the respect of the other players and management so we think he’ll do a great job.”
Breaking: Wales squad for the 2022 Six Nations
Forwards (20): Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones, Gareth Thomas, Ryan Elias, Dewi Lake, Bradley Roberts, Leon Brown, Tomas Francis, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard (Vice-Captain), Ben Carter, Seb Davies, Will Rowlands, Christ Tshiunza, Taine Basham, Ellis Jenkins, Jac Morgan, Ross Moriarty, James Ratti, Aaron Wainwright.
Backs (16): Gareth Davies, Kieran Hardy, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar (Captain), Rhys Priestland, Callum Sheedy, Jonathan Davies, Uilisi Halaholo, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, Josh Adams, Alex Cuthbert, Louis Rees-Zammit, Johnny McNicholl, Liam Williams.
Four into three
There is also a decision to be made about the fly-half pecking order. Four tens featured in the Autumn Nations Series, with Dan Biggar a certainty for the squad and perhaps the favourite to take the captaincy.
One of Rhys Priestland, Callum Sheedy and Gareth Anscombe is thus set to be mighty unfortunate. Sheedy had a very strong tournament as Biggar’s back-up last year but hasn’t maybe produced his best Bristol form of late, and a fit-again Anscombe could be preferred if Pivac considers Priestland’s veteran savvy and nous particularly useful.
There is also Sheedy’s club teammate Ioan Lloyd, who came through as a fly-half but is now a potential pick in the back three. Will the 20-year-old make the cut?
Competition for back-row places
As ever with a Welsh Six Nations squad, the competition for places in the back-row is intense. While all of Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau and Dan Lydiate could miss out due to injuries, Ospreys youngster Jac Morgan is really pushing for inclusion, and Thomas Young is available for selection having confirmed he is bound for Cardiff from Wasps at the end of the season.
Christ Tshiunza was a surprise autumn pick, and the young Exeter lock or blindside has bundles and bundles of potential, but it may be that Wayne Pivac favours more experienced options.
Wales need a new captain
Things aren’t looking particularly rosy for Wayne Pivac, with a host of key faces likely to miss the start of the Six Nations due to injury. Among these is skipper Alun Wyn Jones, who is recuperating from a major shoulder issue - which leaves a decision for the head coach over a new captain.
Jonathan Davies has performed the duties before but is no longer necessarily a certain starter - could that see Ellis Jenkins or Dan Biggar be given the nod? We believe that Pivac will confirm his choice in the naming of his squad in about ten minutes.
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