Leigh Halfpenny not named in Warren Gatland’s 35-man squad
Toulon full-back Leigh Halfpenny has not been included in the Wales squad
Warren Gatland has named no uncapped players in his 35-man squad
Before travelling to face the All Blacks there is the small matter of a clash against England at Twickenham
Leigh Halfpenny’s hopes of a return to international action will now not come until the autumn after he wasn’t named in Warren Gatland’s 35-man squad for their tour of New Zealand.
He’s been out of action since damaging his ACL in Wales’ Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Italy last September.
It had been hoped that Halfpenny would feature for the French side toward the end of the season, but suffered a setback on his road to recovery, having a second operation last month.
Meanwhile, after all the talk of the possibility of Gatland naming a young uncapped player, there are no new caps in the squad.
The Wales boss has opted not to directly replace Justin Tipuric with a like for like openside.
Sam Warburton will have had fans worried when he went off with a shoulder injury on Judgement Day, but he’s the only specialist No.7 in the squad.
“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 its 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.”
A victory this summer would see these players go down in the record books as the first Welsh side to ever win a Test match in New Zealand. Wales have just the one victory against the All Blacks, coming in 1953.
Before travelling to face the All Blacks there is the small matter of a clash against England at Twickenham on May 28 when Gatland’s men will be looking for Six Nations revenge.
Backs: Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Lloyd Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar, Rhys Priestland, Jonathan Davies, Tyler Morgan, Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams, Hallam Amos, Matthew Morgan, Tom James, George North, Eli Walker, Liam Williams.
Forwards: Rob Evans, Tomas Francis, Paul James, Gethin Jenkins, Rhodri Jones, Samson Lee, Scott Baldwin, Kristian Dacey, Ken Owens, Jake Ball, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, James King, Dan Lydiate, Ross Moriarty, Josh Turnbull, Sam Warburton.