Jones to lead Wales

Lock Alun-Wyn Jones has replaced Sam Warburton as captain in Wales' 36-man squad for the 2017 Six Nations tournament.

Longstanding captain Warburton decided to step down from the role to concentrate on his game, with interim coach Rob Howley handing the reins to Jones.

Meanwhile, influential Wasps flanker Thomas Young is one of seven uncapped players selected in the squad by Howley. The others are lock Rory Thornton, flank Olly Cracknell, scrumhalf Aled Davies, flyhalf Owen Williams, wing Ashton Hewitt and fullback Steffan Evans.

Additionally, veterans Jamie Roberts, Taulupe Faletau and George North have been penciled in as wildcard squad selections because of injury concerns.

Keenan Giles, Gareth Anscombe, Gethin Jenkins and Dan Lydiate are unavailable because of injuries, while Paul James, Rhys Gill, Lloyd Williams and Tyler Morgan were omitted.

'It’s an honour to select Alun-Wyn as captain. His vast experience will help drive this squad forward and I believe he will flourish in the role. Sam has led Wales more times than any other captain and had great success in the role, however we want him to concentrate on his game and to be the best player he can be,' said Howley.

'There is a flavour of freshness too in the squad, with the uncapped players deserving their opportunity. We have the all-important carrot of World Cup seedings on the horizon post-tournament, and that is an important target for us, especially as we welcome the No 2-ranked England and No 4-ranked Ireland to the Millennium Stadium over the coming months.'

Wales squad:

Forwards – Scott Andrews, Nicky Smith, Rob Evans, Rhodri Jones, Tomas Francis, Samson Lee, Kristian Dacey, Ken Owens, Scott Baldwin, Jake Ball, Alun-Wyn Jones, Rory Thornton, Luke Charteris, Cory Hill, James King, Justin Tipuric, Olly Cracknell, Ross Moriarty, Taulupe Faletau, Sam Warburton, Thomas Young.

Backs – Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Aled Davies, Dan Biggar, Sam Davies, Owen Williams, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Ashton Hewitt, Alex Cuthbert, Steffan Evans, George North, Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.

Photo: BackpagePix

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Mariette Adams