Tuesday 27 June 2017

Jamie Roberts to captain Wales as WRU name squad for tour of Tonga and Samoa

Jamie Roberts of Wales celebrates as he scores their third try with George North during the Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at the Principality Stadium on March 10, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Jamie Roberts of Wales celebrates as he scores their third try with George North during the Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at the Principality Stadium on March 10, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Andrew Baldock

Jamie Roberts will captain Wales on their summer tour next month in Tests against Tonga and Samoa.

The Welsh Rugby Union announced that 91 times-capped Roberts will lead a 32-man squad.

Roberts, who toured South Africa with the 2009 British and Irish Lions and then to Australia four years later, missed out on this year's Lions squad.

The group includes 13 uncapped players, with many of them having come through the Wales Under-20s system.

The list of rookies includes Ospreys wing Keelan Giles, Scarlets speedster Steff Evans and Wasps flanker Thomas Young, in addition to Gloucester-bound Leicester back Owen Williams.

Robin McBryde heads up the Wales coaching team with Warren Gatland and Rob Howley on British and Irish Lions duty in New Zealand.

Wales, who are without 12 players selected for the Lions squad, face Tonga in Auckland on June 16, then Samoa in Apia eight days later.

Reflecting on his appointment, 30-year-old Roberts said: "I am immensely honoured to be named captain of Wales for this year's summer tour.

"It's a proud moment for myself, but more importantly my family, and a position of responsibility that I will take huge pride in.

"I am excited for the new players in the squad as they get the chance to test themselves at this level, and also for the more established players who now have a chance to become leaders in this team."

McBryde's squad is made up of 14 backs and 18 forwards, but there is no international recall for hooker Richard Hibbard.

The Gloucester forward, who was last capped in a 2015 World Cup warm-up game and was a Test Lion in Australia two years earlier, has been arguably Gloucester's outstanding player this term.

McBryde said: "We've got a good mix of experience and youth in this squad.

"The senior players will be expected to display their leadership qualities, and we want the younger men to show they've got what it takes to handle the intense international environment."

Wales squad for Tests matches against Tonga in Auckland on June 16 and Samoa in Apia on June 23.

Backs: C Allen (Cardiff), G Anscombe (Cardiff), A Cuthbert (Cardiff), A Davies (Scarlets), G Davies (Scarlets), Sam Davies (Ospreys), S Evans (Scarlets), K Giles (Ospreys), T Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), J Roberts (Harlequins, capt), O Williams (Leicester), R Williams (Cardiff), S WIlliams (Scarlets), T Williams (Cardiff).

Forwards: S Baldwin (Ospreys), J Ball (Scarlets), A Beard (Ospreys), K Dacey (Cardiff), Seb Davies (Cardiff), R Elias (Scarlets), R Evans (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), O Griffiths (Newport Gwent Dragons), C Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons), E Jenkins (Cardiff), W Jones (Scarlets), J King (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), J Navidi (Cardiff), N Smith (Ospreys), R Thornton (Ospreys), T Young (Wasps).

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