Scarlets flyer North wins Wales call
October 18, 2010
Shane Williams returns to the Wales squad © Getty Images
Wales coach Warren Gatland has named two uncapped players in his squad to face Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji in November, with Scarlets wing George North and Blues prop Scott Andrews winning maiden international call-ups.
Gatland, who on Sunday signed a new deal through to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, confirmed that the decision on who will captain the side will be based on form, but also that he anticipated incumbent skipper Ryan Jones to prove his worth after recovering from injury.
"We will assess form and pick our team and then name the captain, it has to be in that order, but there is little to suggest to us that it will not be Ryan again, he needs a little more game time, but we are more than happy with what he offers in a leadership capacity," he said.
North started the season in flying fashion, scoring four times in four games, and has been given the chance to rub shoulders with the recalled Shane Williams, who missed Wales' June defeats to the Springboks and All Blacks due to injury.
Also returning to the squad are Blues trio Gethin Jenkins, Martyn Williams and Tom Shanklin, while Ospreys James Hook and Richard Hibbard win recalls alongside Williams. Dragons flanker Danny Lydiate is joined in the squad by regional team-mate Will Harries but there is no place in the squad for lock Luke Charteris, Sale scrum-half Dwayne Peel or Wasps No.8 Andy Powell. Ospreys wing Tom Prydie retains his berth despite having not featured at regional level so far this season.
"It has been good to see some of our senior players who we missed out on the summer tour back and fully fit for their regions who have acquitted themselves reasonably well in Europe," Gatland said. "And to be able to select a fully fit Shane Williams, James Hook or Gethin Jenkins is a big lift for us.
"Scott Andrews has been doing well technically, physically he is in good shape, we have had our eye on him at the Blues and he has been in and around the squad for a while. George North is only young but really set the start of the season on fire with his form. He is a big physical player, last time I saw a pair of thighs like that was on some of the Samoans back in New Zealand.
"He's carrying an injury at the moment but hopefully he'll be back in the next few weeks and will benefit from the experience of being around the national squad."
Wales Squad to face Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji:
Forwards: G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), P James (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), H Bennett (Ospreys), R Hibbard (Ospreys), AW Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), D Jones (Cardiff Blues), I Gough (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Dragons), J Thomas (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), R McCusker (Scarlets)
Backs: M Phillips (Ospreys), R Rees (Cardiff Blues), T Knoyle (Scarlets), S Jones (Scarlets), D Biggar (Ospreys), J Hook (Ospreys), A Bishop (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), W Harries (Dragons), G North (Scarlets), L Byrne (Ospreys), T Prydie (Ospreys)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery