Alun Wyn Jones replaces Sam Warburton as Wales captain ahead of Six Nations
Wales have named seven uncapped players in their 36-man panel for the championship starting next month13:26 Tuesday 17 January 2017, 13:26 17 Jan 2017
Alun Wyn Jones has been named as the successor to Sam Warburton as Wales captain ahead of the 2017 Six Nations.
The lock replaces Warburton who led the team for six years and coach Rob Howley praised his new on-field leader.
"His vast experience, as a player and a leader will help drive this squad forward and I believe he will flourish in the role," he said.
"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.
"We had conversations during and since the autumn with Sam. No player is guaranteed their place in an international team and we want Sam to be playing his very best rugby and he agrees this is the best way forward."
The 31-year-old has deputised for Warburton, most notably during the 2013 Lions Tour in their final test victory against Australia.
Howley named seven uncapped players including Leicester fly-half Owen Williams, Newport Gwent Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt and Wasps flanker Thomas Young.
"The selection is pretty important. It's always nice when you announce and cap players who are in the environment for the first time.
"These are all players who are playing excellent rugby, they're in form. The challenge for those players is to come into an international environment and challenge coaches and other players for selection in the Six Nations."
Ospreys duo Rory Thornton and Olly Bracknell come in alongside Scarlets pair Aled Davies and Steffan Evans.
George North, Jamie Roberts and Taulupe Faletau all continue within the squad as wildcard picks. The Welsh Rugby Union's (WRU) senior player selection policy (SPSP) dictates that there can only be three players who play outside Wales included in the squad for the championship.
Northampton Saints' George North is included in the 36-man panel for the 2017 Six Nations championship that starts next month. Image: David Davies PA Wire/PA Images
Wales 2017 Six Nations squad
Forwards: Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Bath Rugby), Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Olly Cracknell (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Thomas Young (Wasps)
Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Aled Davies (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Sam Davies (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Ashton Hewitt (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Steffan Evans (Scarlets), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Scarlets) Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon)
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