Wales name uncapped duo in squad for France clash
January 30, 2000
Wales coach Graham Henry tonight named two uncapped players in a 24-man squad for next Saturday's Six Nations' Championship opener against France in Cardiff.
Neath wing Shane Williams and Ebbw Vale scrum-half Richard Smith make a senior squad for the first time following impressive performances during today's national trial in Swansea.
Williams has won rave reviews this season, proving himself as an exciting player with plenty of pace and an eye for the try-line, while former Sale scrum-half Smith is promoted above David Llewellyn to understudy Rob Howley.
Only two players on duty against Australia in the World Cup quarter finals last October have failed to make Henry's first squad of the new Millennium.
Both centre Scott Gibbs and lock Craig Quinnell are injured, and took no part in today's trial.
Henry must decide his midfield combination, a keenly contested area that sees Mark Taylor, Jason Jones-Hughes and Allan Bateman all challenging strongly, but Pontypridd lock Ian Gough is a firm favourite to replace Quinnell alongside Chris Wyatt.
Hooker Garin Jenkins limped off during the trial, but the Welsh management are confident that he will be fit to pack down at the Millennium Stadium next weekend.
Henry will probably name the starting line-up early next week, together with the A team to tackle France in Wrexham on Friday.
Squad (to be cut to 22 on Monday)
Backs: Shane Howarth, Gareth Thomas, Mark Taylor, Jason Jones-Hughes, Allan Bateman, Dafydd James, Shane Williams, Neil Jenkins, Stephen Jones, Rob Howley, Richard Smith.
Forwards: Peter Rogers, David Young, Spencer John, Garin Jenkins, Barry Williams, Ian Gough, Chris Wyatt, Mike Voyle, Colin Charvis, Brett Sinkinson, Geraint Lewis, Mike Williams, Scott Quinnell.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September