Warren Gatland has named Ken Owens as captain for his first Guinness Six Nations campaign since returning as Wales head coach.
The New Zealander has welcomed back Leon Brown, Rhys Carre, Rhys Patchell, Aaron Wainwright, Rhys Webb and Owen Williams, while Wyn Jones, Dewi Lake and Liam Williams return to the fold after injury ruled them out of the Autumn Nations Series.
Seven players in the 37-man squad could make their Guinness Six Nations debut, including uncapped quartet Rhys Davies, Keiran Williams, Mason Grady and Teddy Williams.
And trio Rio Dyer, Joe Hawkins and Dafydd Jenkins will hope to continue their push for first XV spots after making their senior debuts in the autumn.
🏴 𝘾𝘼𝙍𝙁𝘼𝙉 𝘾𝙔𝙈𝙍𝙐 🏴
🔥 Your Welsh squad for the @SixNationsRugby
🤠 Capten : Ken Owens#WelshRugby
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) January 17, 2023
On naming Scarlets hooker Owens as skipper Gatland said: “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 [Lake] and Bradley [Roberts] as well which is going to be great.”
Alongside a host of talented youngsters, there is room for well-established stars like Taulupe Faletau, George North, Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric, with Gatland targeting a blend of youth and experience.
“It’s probably a bigger squad than I’d normally name, but we want to have a good Six Nations and also look forward to the World Cup,” said Gatland.
“We’ve some youngsters that have come in and then we’ve some older very experienced players that we need to manage.
“It’s looking at the whole element for the squad and how we get the balance right, because that’s definitely going to be a challenge over the next 10 months.”
FULL WALES SQUAD
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby – 17 caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 45 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 17 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 8 caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets – 86 caps) Captain
Bradley Roberts (Dragons – 3 caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons – 22 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 67 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 45 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 41 caps)
Rhys Davies (Ospreys – uncapped)
Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 1 cap)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 155 caps)
Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 95 caps)
Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 6 caps)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 4 caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 89 caps)
Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs – 3 caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 36 caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 16 caps)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys – 36 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 40 caps)
Dan Biggar (Toulon – 103 caps)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets – 21 caps)
Owen Williams (Ospreys – 3 caps)
Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Joe Hawkins (Ospreys – 1 cap)
George North (Ospreys – 109 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 25 caps)
Keiran Williams (Ospreys – uncapped)
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 44 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 55 caps)
Rio Dyer (Dragons – 3 caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 97 caps)
Liam Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 81 caps)