Jones named as captain for Wales for World cup

Flyhalf Stephen Jones has been named as captain to lead Wales to the next World Cup, Jones has 56 caps and his only previous experience of captaining his country was in the 43-9 pre-World Cup loss to England in Cardiff in 2003.

Scarlets centre Gavin Evans, 22, is the only uncapped man in the 32-man squad for the autumn Tests. A number of Grand Slam heroes have been recalled. Thomas, Kevin Morgan, Tom Shanklin, Brent Cockbain and Ryan Jones have all earning places in the current squad.

Michael Owen who was captain after Thomas was injured has been left out. Thomas aso led Wales in the opening games of last season’s Six Nations, but he was sidelined after suffering a mini stroke following the stresses of Mike Ruddock’s departure.

Coach Gareth Jenkins said that he had spoken to Gareth Thomas about being dropped as captain, “I flew out to speak to Gareth and his reaction was admirable, to say the least,” said Wales coach Gareth Jenkins.

“Playing his rugby in France did not count in his favour in our decision, but Gareth’s point of view was that he holds Stephen in extremely high regard and that he will be on his shoulder supporting him throughout his tenure as captain.

“Gareth will continue to be what he is, and his infectious enthusiasm and leadership qualities will continue to benefit Wales for a long time to come.”

Wales squad for the November Tests with Australia, the Pacific Islands, Canada and New Zealand:

Backs: K Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), L Byrne (Ospreys), M Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys), Gareth Thomas (Toulouse), H Luscombe (Harlequins), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), G Evans (Llanelli Scarlets), C Sweeney (Newport Gwent Dragons), G Henson (Ospreys), J Hook (Ospreys), S Jones (Llanelli Scarlets, capt), D Peel (Llanelli Scarlets), M Phillips (Cardiff Blues), G Cooper (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Forwards: G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), A Jones (Ospreys), D Jones (Ospreys), C Horsman (Worcester), R Thomas (Cardiff Blues), H Bennett (Ospreys), M Rees (Llanelli Scarlets), B Cockbain (Ospreys), I Gough (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Sidoli (Cardiff Blues), I Evans (Ospreys), A Wyn Jones (Ospreys), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), Gavin Thomas (Llanelli Scarlets), J Thomas (Ospreys), A Popham (Llanelli Scarlets), R Jones (Ospreys).

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