Ryan Jones will captain Robin McBryde's Wales team to tour Canada and USA this summer and leads a squad which could include up to seven uncapped players.
Wales caretaker coach McBryde has today named a squad of 32, but those selected from the Scarlets or the Dragons will miss out on the tour - although remaining behind on standby - allowing them to play for their region in the Heineken Cup 24th qualification play-off match, scheduled for the same day as the first Test on tour against Canada.
The Ospreys region supply three players making senior squad debuts in prop Craig Mitchell, centre Jonathan Spratt and full-back Gareth Owen - with all three having figured in the Principality Premiership this season for Neath as well as the Ospreys. Richard Hibbard, Duncan Jones and Dan Biggar all return to the fold, with stalwarts Ian Gough, James Hook and Andrew Bishop all retained.
From the Cardiff Blues regions Nicky Robinson returns to international duty for the first time since the 2007 summer tour to Argentina and he will be welcomed back alongside another long term absentee in wing Chris Czekaj, who was last capped on tour against Australia in 2008 before suffering long term injury. The Blues also supply wing Richard Mustoe and back row Sam Warburton, both in with a chance of winning their first international caps on tour. Also called up from the region are hooker Gareth Williams and locks Deiniol Jones and Bradley Davies with John Yapp keeping his front row spot.
The Scarlets have three players who could also make debuts in back rows Rob McCusker and Josh Turnbull and centre Jon Davies, whilst Mark Jones and Dafydd Jones are also retained. The Dragons will fight it out with the Scarlets to avoid the Heineken Cup play-off spot and if they can achieve that aim Luke Charteris will join the uncapped trio of back rowers Dan Lydiate and Lewis Evans and full-back Jason Tovey on tour.
"We have a duty to continue with the professionalism, dedication and ruthlessness this Wales squad has shown over the past two seasons on this tour," said McBryde.
"We have approached the task of selecting the right blend of youth and experience with great pride and with one eye on the future, but a clear focus on the task ahead.
"We are playing two tests where the opposition will be gunning for us in their own back yard and we have to show the respect we have for this Wales jersey and put in two performances to make the nation proud.
"There is also a real opportunity here for some players to show us what they can do in this environment with youngsters who have shown form at Wales' under 21 level and players who have lit up the Principality Premiership as well as at regional level.
"But we also have the Wales captain on tour with us, some exciting talent and a wealth of experience in our back line and a number of players coming back to the international scene with something to prove and, we believe, something important to offer to the future."
Eight players from the Wales U20 squads in the last two seasons have made the squad:
2008: Sam Warburton, Josh Turnbull (Six Nations, JWC), Jason Tovey (+2009), Jonathan Davies, Gareth Owen and Dan Biggar (already capped) were all in the same Wales Under 20 side as Leigh Halfpenny last season, helping Wales to the last four of the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship in Wales (Warburton was skipper).
2007: Dan Lydiate and Lewis Evans were two of the Wales Under 20 backrow two seasons ago, along with Tom James and Bradley Davies who will also travel to North America.
2006: Craig Mitchell played for Wales Under 21 in 2006, in the same side as current tourists Chris Czekaj, Andrew Bishop and James Hook, and Lions squad members Jamie Roberts and Alun-Wyn Jones.
2005: Jonathan Spratt captained Wales Under 19 at the 2005 IRB Under 19 World Championship. Rob McCusker has earned representative honours for Wales Sevens in the IRB Sevens World Series over the past few seasons.
WALES 2009 TOUR SQUAD
Duncan JONES (OSPREYS - Cap No 997)
DoB: 18.09.78. 6'0" / 1.83m. 17st 8lbs / 112kgs
International record: 52 caps (W 23, L 27, D 2)
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WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
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