Rugby Union

Warren Gatland unveils Wales squad for England and New Zealand clashes

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Football News

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named a 35-man squad to face England at Twickenham later this month and world champions New Zealand in June.

Sam Warburton will lead an experienced group, with Wales facing England at Twickenham on May 29 before next month tackling the All Blacks in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin, in addition to a midweek game against the Hamilton-based Chiefs.

Toulon full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who has not played for Wales since September after suffering a knee injury, is among the absentees, together with wing Alex Cuthbert and flanker Justin Tipuric, who are both currently sidelined.

Scarlets centre Scott Williams is back, though, having not played Test rugby since being injured during last autumn's World Cup.

There are no uncapped players in Gatland's squad, despite many pundits touting the claims of young players like Ospreys back Sam Davies, Newport Gwent Dragons hooker Elliot Dee and Cardiff Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins.

While Halfpenny misses out, there are no fitness doubts surrounding skipper Warburton and lock Alun Wyn Jones, who are both named after suffering injuries during recent weeks.

The squad has an average of more than 30 caps per player, with that experience vital as Wales prepare to meet RBS 6 Nations champions England, before heading to New Zealand the following day.

Gatland said: "We have picked a squad that is packed full of experience for what is going to be a challenging, but exciting, five-match campaign.

"We will be facing the Six Nations champions at Twickenham first up, and that will be an important start to the tour and will set the tone for the weeks ahead.

"We will have a bit of time together when we land in New Zealand before the first Test, then it's into three Test matches against the All Blacks, plus a midweek match against the Chiefs.

"It is a great opportunity for us to test ourselves, build on the World Cup and the Six Nations, and it's a challenge we are all looking forward to.

"We are in a great position in terms of the experience in the squad, especially when you look at the age of most of the players, and this is going to be another important summer."

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Rugby Union
Sam Warburton

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