Warren Gatland's Four Uncapped Players in 2023 Wales Six Nations Squad - Ruck

Warren Gatland’s Four Uncapped Players in 2023 Wales Six Nations Squad

Warren Gatland has named his Wales squad, for the upcoming 2023 Guinness Six Nations. He makes his return to the role after taking over from Wayne Pivac, and has named four uncapped players in his squad.

These talented fresh faces will all be hopeful to make their international test debut, and make their mark ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Second Rows Teddy Williams and Rhys Davies have been called up, as have centres Mason Grady and Keiran Williams.

Gatland spoke to Wales Online about the selections:

“Mason is a big man and he’s got some development to do. He’s trained with the team in the past. We’ve been impressed with a couple of performances. Keiran is a bit different. He reminds me of a younger Scott Gibbs. He’s exciting and it’s a great opportunity.”

“With the forwards, Teddy can come in and see what he can bring to the squad. It’s a position we need to develop depth in. The challenge is balancing the older players with the younger players. We need to give them opportunities. It’s a balancing act. I think that’s reflected in the squad. There’s players with not a lot of caps that need more experience. We’ve seen teams arrive at World Cups in the past with older squads and then some injuries see you throwing in inexperienced players. That’s part of our thinking.”

  1. Teddy Williams

A graduate of the Cardiff Rugby academy, the second rower has established himself as a re-occurring name at Cardiff Arms Park. At 6ft 6″ Williams is a towering forward, who is confident with the ball in hand. The son of the late Owain Williams, Teddy has been emulating his father’s career in the blue and black of Cardiff, and aspires to reach the international stage just like his Dad did.

Williams made his debut for Cardiff in 2020, in a 40-5 loss to Leinster in the Pro 14. A definitive career highlight for the 22-year-old was scoring the match winning try, in the derby victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons. This was also his first senior try for Cardiff. Williams will be under the watchful eye of the legendary Alun Wyn Jones, who will guide some valuable experience, for Williams to take the reigns for the next generation of Wales locks.

2. Rhys Davies

Another lock looking to gain international experience, 24-year-old Rhys Davies has been the understudy for Alun Wyn Jones at the Ospreys, since joining from Bath in 2020. Twice called up by Wayne Pivac for the previous two Autumn International series, Davies failed to get on the pitch.

Utilised as ‘injury cover’ by the former Welsh Head Coach, Davies hopes that Gatland may give him the opportunity he deserves. Another giant forward, standing 6ft 6″ tall, Davies idolises the experienced Welsh forwards, but in actuality, they look up to him. Making his Bath debut against Saracens, Davies had the tall order of getting the better of his opposite man, Maro Itoje.

However, he achieved the impressive feat, and began to draw attention from there on. Considered to be out-performing Alun Wyn Jones in recent Ospreys appearances, it wouldn’t be too much of a shock to see Davies get his first start for his country.

3. Keiran Williams

Another Osprey looking to mark his moment in a red jersey, Kieran Williams is an exciting centre, from Neath. The 25-year-old has been selected following some impressive performances in the United Rugby Championship, having represented the Swansea side since his 2018 debut against Zebre. After missing the first few URC weeks with injury, Williams has stepped into top form. He has scored key tries a crucial home win over the Scarlets, and an away victory against Montpellier in the Champions Cup.

Considered by the great Shane Williams to have been unfairly overlooked by Wayne Pivac, Kieran now has his opportunity to prove that you should believe the hype. An enigmatic centre, capable of controlling the pace of an attack, and halting the opponents flow in defence, Kieran Williams comes in with three tries in six Osprey games this season, and a definitive point to prove for Wales.

4. Mason Grady

Partnering Williams in the breakout centre role, is 20-year-old Mason Grady. Cardiff’s young gun has had frequent appearances this season, most often coming from off the bench. Grady scored in back-to-back weekends in the Challenge Cup, crossing over against Brive at home, and then at Kingston Park against Newcastle Falcons.

Signing his first black and blue contract at just 18-years-old, Grady was fast-tracked into the senior squad after stand-out performances in the Cardiff academy. After breaking into the first team, and untimely knee injury halted his momentum, but has bounced back stronger. Grady has experience in representing his country, shining for Wales at Under 18s and Under 20s level, yet has rightful aspirations to demonstrate his talents on the Six Nations stage.