Wales coach Wayne Pivac has named five uncapped players in his 34-man squad for the upcoming mid-year Test window.
With the 2021 Six Nations champions set to host Canada (3 July) and Argentina (10 and 17 July), Pivac has selected a well-balanced squad.
There are three uncapped forwards in prop Gareth Thomas, lock Ben Carter and flank Taine Basham, while centre Ben Thomas and wing Tom Rogers will look to make their Test debut in the backline.
Thomas is named alongside fellow Ospreys loosehead props Rhodri Jones and Nicky Smith. Experienced trio Leon Brown, Tomas Francis and Dillon Lewis are named as the tightheads.
Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias and Sam Parry, who made his debut back in the Autumn Nations Cup, are the three hookers in the squad while the lock stocks include Adam Beard, Cory Hill and Will Rowlands – all part of Pivac’s 2021 Six Nations squad.
James Botham, Josh Navidi and Aaron Wainwright are joined by fit-again Ross Moriarty and Josh Turnbull, who last featured for Wales in Argentina in 2018.
At scrumhalf, 2021 Six Nations champions Kieran Hardy and Tomos Williams are joined by Rhodri Williams who last appeared for Wales in 2014.
Callum Sheedy and Jarrod Evans are the two flyhalves.
In the midfield, Jonathan Davies is named in the squad as captain, a role he previously fulfilled for his country in the 2019 Six Nations versus Italy. Rookie Willis Halaholo is named along with Nick Tompkins and uncapped Cardiff centre Ben Thomas.
Leigh Halfpenny, the 99-Test veteran fullback, is named along with outside backs Hallam Amos, Jonah Holmes, Owen Lane, Ioan Lloyd.
‘We are really looking forward to this summer, getting to work with this squad and the three home Tests that we will face,’ Pivac said.
‘It is great that we are able to select five uncapped players in the squad. It is an opportunity, much like the autumn campaign last year, to get these players into the environment and to expose them to Test- match preparation and, in some cases, Test-match rugby.
‘This summer isn’t just about the uncapped players, it is also about internationals gaining more experience. It is a chance for them to get more starts and appearances under their belt and to step into leadership roles, so it is going to be an important period for us.
‘We will have a training camp in North Wales before returning to Cardiff for our three Tests, so it is a great block of time we have together.
‘Whilst the Six Nations success is still fresh in many people’s memories, it is important we continue to build both depth and our game as we continue to the RWC 2023.’
Forwards – Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Nicky Smith (Ospreys) Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Sam Parry (Ospreys), Leon Brown (Dragons), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Ben Carter (Dragons), Cory Hill (Cardiff Blues), Will Rowlands (Wasps), Taine Basham (Dragons), James Botham (Cardiff Blues), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Josh Turnbull (Cardiff Blues), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).
Backs – Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues), Rhodri Williams (Dragons), Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears), Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets, captain), Willis Halaholo (Cardiff Blues), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Ben Thomas (Cardiff Blues), Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), Jonah Holmes (Dragons), Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues), Ioan Lloyd (Bristol Bears), Tom Rogers (Scarlets).
Photo: Getty Images