Wales have selected a 35-man squad for the 2010 RBS Six Nations Championship which includes four uncapped players.
Young Ospreys backs Tom Prydie and Kristian Phillips join Blues scrum-half Richie Rees and Saracens prop Rhys Gill as the latest additions to the national cause.
The four debutants are backed up by the return of some key senior players with Ospreys full-back Lee Bryne and his regional colleague prop Adam Jones both back from injuries picked up on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in the summer, whilst lock Ian Gough returns to add his considerable experience.
Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees is also back after picking up an injury with on the Lions tour,
Blues second row Deiniol Jones and hooker Gareth Williams also return – both back in after missing out this Autumn, but touring with Wales to Canada and USA last summer, as is Sale prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts.
The Ospreys (14) and the Blues (13) make up the bulk of the squad which will again be led by 2008 Grand Slam captain Ryan Jones with the Scarlets providing four players – Rees, Jonathan Davies, Stephen Jones and Martin Roberts – the Dragons two – Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate – with just two players based outside Wales in Gill and Lewis-Roberts. The latter’s Sale team-mate, scrum-half Dwayne Peel, was considered unavailable due to injury.
“We are now at the beginning of our countdown to the world cup and this slightly larger squad reflects that,” said Wales coach Warren Gatland.
“We have brought in some youngsters to put some pressure on some of our senior players and to help increase the depth we have in certain positions.
“Kristian is a good example of an exciting young player, he has just won the Principality player of the month award and scored five tries in one match for Neath, he is skilfull and very quick.
“Elsewhere we are very happy to welcome back the likes of Adam (Jones) and Lee (Byrne) who were both obviously missed in the Autumn, although at full-back in particular a certain James Hook provided more than ample cover.
“Our first match at Twickenham could set the tone for the Championship for both sides, we will both be desperate to win that first up match.
“We then come to the Millennium Stadium for two home matches and the support we have there will make a huge difference to us.”
Gareth Cooper, Bradley Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, Tom James, Gethin Jenkins, Deiniol Jones, Andy Powell, Richard Rees, Jamie Roberts, Tom Shanklin, Sam Warburton, Gareth Williams, Martyn Williams
Huw Bennett, Dan Biggar, Andrew Bishop, Lee Byrne, Ian Gough , James Hook, Paul James, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Kristian Phillips, Tom Prydie, Jonathan Thomas , Shane Williams
Jonathan Davies, Stephen Jones, Matthew Rees, Martin Roberts
Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate