Tompkins, Rees-Zammit in for Wales at Six Nations

Wayne Pivac handed a surprise Six Nations call-up to Saracens centre Nick Tompkins on Wednesday, while 18-year-old Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit was also included in the Wales squad for the first time.

With an injury crisis plaguing Pivac’s midfield, the New Zealander turned to former England under-20 international Tompkins, 24, in the absence of outside centre Jonathan Davies, who is dealing with a knee injury.

Rees-Zammit, meanwhile, earned his inclusion through a stellar start to the Premiership season, having scored nine tries in ten games for Gloucester so far.

Three more uncapped players were named for the defending Grand Slam champions, with prop WillGriff John included, as well as Johnny McNicholl in the back three and Will Rowlands in the second row.

Wales also bring Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias and Ken Owens to the competition as hookers, while Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Seb Davies, captain Alun Wyn Jones and Cory Hill join Rowlands in the second row.

Rhys Carre, Rob Evans and Wyn Jones are the squad’s three loose-head props, while Leon Brown and Dillon Lewis accompany John as tight-heads.

Taulupe Faletau returns from injury two years after his last appearance for Wales, along with back-row options Aaron Wainwright, Ross Moriarty, Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi and Justin Tipuric.

Gareth Davies, Tomos Williams and Rhys Webb were named as scrum-halves, with the latter’s last cap coming in December 2017.

Owen Williams was included, having also made his last appearance in 2017, as were Dan Biggar and Jarrod Evans.

The uncapped trio of Tompkins, Rees-Zammit and McNicholl join the experienced group of Hadleigh Parkes, Owen Lane, Jonah Holmes, Owen Watkin, George North, Josh Adams, Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams in the backline.

Pivac said: “A lot of time and effort has gone into selecting the squad — all of the coaches have been out and about, seeing players in training, speaking with them and we are pretty excited with the group we have got.

“We do have a couple of injuries, but we flip that into seeing it as an opportunity for some new players to impress — with not only the Six Nations in mind, but also longer term and 2023.”

Wales open their Six Nations campaign on Feb. 1 with a clash against Italy as Pivac experiences his first tournament as coach.

Wales 2020 Six Nations Squad

Forwards:

Rhys Carre (Saracens), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Leon Brown (Dragons), WillGriff John (Sale), Dillon Lewis (Blues), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Will Rowlands (Wasps), Cory Hill (Dragons), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Josh Navidi (Blues), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)

Backs:

Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Toulon), Tomos Williams (Blues), Dan Biggar (Northampton), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Jarrod Evans (Blues), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), George North (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Blues), Owen Lane (Blues), Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Jonah Holmes, Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets)

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