Owens to captain Wales in Six Nations, Gatland calls up uncapped quartet

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Ken Owens will captain Wales in the Six Nations and Warren Gatland has included four uncapped players in his 37-man squad.

Hooker Owens takes over as skipper from Justin Tipuric, who led the side for the Autumn Nations Series encounters last year.

The fit-again Wyn Jones, Dewi Lake and Liam Williams return in Gatland's first squad since he returned for a second spell as head coach, replacing the sacked Wayne Pivac.

New Zealander Gatland has recalled Leon Brown, Rhys Carre, Rhys Patchell, Aaron Wainwright, Rhys Webb and Owen Williams.

The uncapped Rhys Davies, Keiran Williams, Mason Grady and Teddy Williams also got the nod, while Rio Dyer, Joe Hawkins and Dafydd Jenkins are in line to make their Six Nations debuts.

Gatland said of naming Owens as captain: "Ken's incredibly experienced and a passionate Welshman – it means a lot to him to play for Wales. He's also very popular with the players.

"He came back from injury and was absolutely outstanding during the autumn campaign. Probably, if you're picking a team at the moment he's the number one in that position. But he's going to have some competition with Dewi and Bradley [Roberts] as well, which is going to be great."

Gatland has completed his coaching team by appointing Jonathan Thomas, who will take responsibility for the contact area.

Wales face Ireland at the Principality Stadium in their first match of the tournament at the Principality Stadium on February 4.

 

Wales Six Nations squad:

Forwards: Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones, Gareth Thomas, Dewi Lake, Ken Owens (captain), Bradley Roberts, Leon Brown, Tomas Francis, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Rhys Davies, Dafydd Jenkins, Alun Wyn Jones, Teddy Williams, Taulupe Faletau, Jac Morgan, Tommy Reffell, Justin Tipuric, Christ Tshiunza, Aaron Wainwright.

Backs: Kieran Hardy, Rhys Webb, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell, Owen Williams, Mason Grady, Joe Hawkins, George North, Nick Tompkins, Keiran Williams, Josh Adams, Alex Cuthbert, Rio Dyer, Leigh Halfpenny, Louis Rees-Zammit, Liam Williams.