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Rugby Union

Gatland gets back to his day job

Three uncapped players are included in Welsh squad to face South Africa, Australia, Togo and Argentina by Warren Gatland

Last Modified: 22 Oct 2013 16:11
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Rhodri Williams of Scarlets is one of three untested players chosen by 2013 Lions coach Gatland [AP]

Warren Gatland, fresh from coaching the British and Irish Lions to victory in Australia, has included three uncapped players in a 35-man squad for four November internationals on his return to his day job in charge of Wales.

Thirteeen Lions are included in the squad while scrumhalf Rhodri Williams, centre Cory Allen and winger Eli Walker bring a fresh look for matches against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia. 

Flyhalf Rhys Priestland, who last played an international in 2012, is back in contention, along with several players who made their debuts when a shadow squad toured Japan in June.

We have an important campaign ahead as we look to test ourselves against some of the best sides in the world but also add strength in depth to our squad as we look to the future

Warren Gatland, Wales coach

"We have an important campaign ahead as we look to test ourselves against some of the best sides in the world but also add strength in depth to our squad as we look to the future," Gatland said in a statement.

There is no place for hooker and former captain Matthew Rees as he takes "an enforced spell away from rugby" after undergoing testicular surgery.

The 32-year-old, capped 58 times and a test fixture for the British and Irish Lions in South Africa four years ago, has become a fringe player for the national team but will also miss a period of time for Cardiff Blues, having joined them from the Scarlets this year.

"Cardiff Blues would like to take this opportunity to wish Matthew a speedy recovery," the region said in a statement.

"We look forward to seeing him back in action in the future. 

"The region will be making no further comment and would ask that the media respect Matthew's privacy at this time."

Scotland also named their squad for November tests against Japan, South Africa and Australia, with five uncapped players Mark Bennett, Jonny Gray, Chris Fusaro, Kieran Low and Blair Cowan in an initial 41-man training squad.

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Source:
Reuters
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