Davies to captain Wales tour to Japan
Nine uncapped players chosen for two test trip under interim head coach McBryde
Ospreys Dan Biggar scores a try against Leinster at the RDS. Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Cardiff Blues lock Bradley Davies is to captain Wales on their two-Test tour of Japan.
Davies has not played for his country since been knocked out by a punch from New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore during the autumn Tests, with a subsequent ankle injury ruling him out of Wales’ successful Six Nations title defence.
But the 26-year-old has performed well since returning to regional action and, with senior figures such as Ryan Jones and Matthew Rees being rested, he has been handed the leadership role by interim head coach Robin McBryde.
There are nine uncapped players in the 27-man squad, which has been trimmed from an initial training party of 32, including Ospreys centre Dafydd Howells and Blues outhalf Rhys Patchell. Both hookers in the party, Scarlets’ Emyr Phillips and Scott Baldwin of the Ospreys, are also uncapped.
McBryde is without the Scarlets trio of hooker Ken Owens, fly-half Rhys Priestland and centre Scott Williams after they picked up injuries in the RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final defeat to Ulster, while Blues flanker Josh Navidi drops out after being chosen in the initial party.
Dan Biggar is the only member of the side which beat England in the Six Nations title decider to tour, with all 14 of his colleagues from that fixture having been selected for Lions duty.
There is also a place in the final squad for Steven Shingler. The London Irish back, who will return to the Scarlets this summer, is picked just over a year after he unsuccessfully battled to represent Scotland.
McBryde said: “We’ve had the training squad together for more than a week and we’ve been impressed. They have really put the effort in and stepped up as we have asked them to. Everyone in the training squad put their hand up for selection making our jobs much harder.
“It’s a chance for these players now to experience the international Test environment and put their marker down.” Wales will face Japan in Osaka on June 8th and again in Tokyo on June 15th.
Wales squad: Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Rhys Gill (Saracens), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Exeter Chiefs), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Blues, captain), Lou Reed (Blues), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Rob McCusker (Scarlets), Andries Pretorius (Blues), Lloyd Williams (Blues), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Patchell (Blues), Ashley Beck (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Blues), Jonathan Spratt (Ospreys), Dafydd Howells (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Harry Robinson (Blues), Tom Prydie (Dragons), Steven Shingler (London Irish).