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Howley names Welsh Six Nations squad

Rob Howley has named his 35 man squad for the forthcoming Six Nations campaign, with five uncapped players included.

Howley takes charge of the squad in the absence of Warren Gatland who is focusing on Lions duties, he will be joined by Mark Jones who takes up some of the slack on coaching the backs, while Shaun Edwards, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins continue their usual roles.

The Ospreys James King and Andrew Coombs of the Dragons both come in at lock for the first time as Wales are without four first choice second rows, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Jones, while Ryan Jones who often covers there is a doubt for the start of the tournament with a dislocated thumb.

The back row also features two new faces, both from the Cardiff Blues, Josh Navidi and Andries Pretorius, while Aaron Shingler has also been named but is an injury doubt.

The final new call up is Ospreys winger Eli Walker who has been in impressive form so far this season amid rumours of a call up.

The real story about this squad though is the injury crisis that runs through it, with considerable losses in the second and back rows bringing in new faces, there is also an issue at fly half, with Rhys Priestland out for the season. James Hook has been named in the squad but is also an injury worry.

Dan Lydiate has not been named either as he returns from injury, though he is hoping to be fit by the end of February. One small chink of good news though is the return of Adam Jones to the front row, making up for the absence of Aaron Jarvis who is out for the season.

Sam Warburton is named as captain again after leading Wales to a Grand Slam in 2012, he will be hoping for a repeat this year as he looks to bolster his Lions leadership credentials, beginning with Ireland at the Millenium Stadium.

Wales Six Nations Squad:

Forwards:

Scott Andrews (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Exeter Chiefs), Adam Jones (Ospreys) Paul James (Bath), Gethin Jenkins (Toulon), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Ryan Jones (Ospreys) Lou Reed (Blues), Ian Evans (Ospreys), James King (Ospreys), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Josh Navidi (Blues), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Blues), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Andries Pretorius (Blues)

Backs:

Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), James Hook (Perpignan), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets) Alex Cuthbert (Blues), George North (Scarlets), Eli Walker (Ospreys), Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Lee Byrne (Clermont).

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