Wales Rugby Test Squad Named: Matthew Rees and James Hook Miss out

Christopher AtkinsContributor IOctober 22, 2013

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 24:  Wales forward Matthew Rees runs into the All Blacks defence during the International Match between Wales and New Zealand at Millennium Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wales coach Warren Gatland has named his squad for the upcoming Autumn internationals, with Matthew Rees and James Hook notable omissions from the party.

Rees, per the Press Association via the Guardian, will undergo testicular surgery and spend some time out of the game as he recovers, as revealed in a club statement on Tuesday morning.

Hook, though, has been omitted in spite of his excellent form at club level with Perpignan, having not started for Wales against a Test nation in over two years.

Racing Metro centre Jamie Roberts has been named despite his recent injury absence, while Mike Phillips is also included despite disciplinary issues at club level, when the Telegraph report he turned up drunk for a training session.

In-form Scarlets centre Scott Williams will hope to pick up Roberts' place should he miss out, having starred in his side's recent Heineken Cup clashes with Harlequins and Racing Metro.

Gatland, though, will be determined to correct Wales' atrocious record against Southern Hemisphere opposition, with their last win against New Zealand, Australia or South Africa coming over the Wallabies in November 2008.

Speaking to the WRU website, Gatland said:

We have an important campaign ahead as we look to test ourselves against some of the best sides in the world but also add strength in depth to our squad as we look to the future.

We face a huge game against South Africa first up and they will be coming to us after an impressive Rugby Championship campaign.

Recent matches between us have been very close and physical and that will be a great test for us to kick-off. All four matches will be a stern test but we are looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to seeing what we can do on this stage.

The Rugby World Cup is less than two years away, so we are looking to build as much depth in our squad as possible and to give vital international experience to our players.

Wales will face South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia over consecutive weekends between November 9 and November 30 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The WRU have also unveiled a new kit for the autumn series, with Under Armour's latest effort drawing praise from full-back Leigh Halfpenny, per the Express.


Full Wales Squad for Autumn Internationals

Forwards: Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Paul James (Bath), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro).

Backs: Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Patchell (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Jon Davies (Scarlets), Ashley Beck (Ospreys), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Owen Williams (Cardiff Blues), James Hook (Perpignan), George North (Northampton Saints), Eli Walker (Ospreys), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Liam Williams (Scarlets).