Francis included in Welsh squad
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs prop Tomas Francis has been named in a 36-man Wales squad for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship.
The 28-year-old tighthead will be looking to add to his tally of 52 caps when Wayne Pivac’s side kick-off their campaign against Ireland at the Principality Stadium on Sunday, February 7 (3pm).
Francis will be looking to make up for lost time in the competition having sat out last season’s action with the shoulder injury he sustained in the Rugby World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa in 2019.
Although he missed the Six Nations campaign last term, Francis returned to action last season in time to help the Chiefs win both the English and European titles, as well as featuring for Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup.
This is, however, his last Six Nations as a Chiefs player having announced earlier this month that he is to join the Ospreys from next season on a three-year deal.
Elsewhere, Pivac’s squad features one uncapped player, Scarlets back-row Josh Macleod, who was named in the autumn squad last year but didn’t feature after picking up an injury before the campaign began.
Four players who made their international debuts in that campaign, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Johnny Williams and Louis Rees-Zammit are all included.
“We are hugely looking forward to meeting up as a squad on Monday and to the forthcoming campaign,” said head coach Pivac.“The Guinness Six Nations is an important tournament and we have selected a squad accordingly.
“As we consistently spoke about, the autumn for us was about opportunity and development, looking ahead to RWC 2023 and it served that purpose for us.
“This campaign is different, it is tournament rugby and we are excited to get going and to play our part.We have picked a squad for this tournament based on form and we are excited to meet up on Monday and to get our preparation underway.”
WALES 2021 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS SQUAD
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Bues) (12 Caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (30 Caps)
Rhodri Jones (Ospreys) (17 Caps)
Elliot Dee (Dragons) (33 Caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (17 Caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets) (77 Caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons) (12 Caps)
Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (52 Caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (28 Caps)
Jake Ball (Scarlets) (49 Caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys) (21 Caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (143 Caps)
Will Rowlands (Wasps) (5 Caps)
Cory Hill (Cardiff Blues) (29 Caps)
Dan Lydiate (Ospreys) (62 Caps)
Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (24 Caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (27 Caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (81 Caps)
Josh MacLeod (Scarlets) (*Uncapped)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (80 Caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (57 Caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (20 Caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets) (2 Caps)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (87 Caps)
Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears) (4 Caps)
Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (6 Caps)
Johnny Williams (Scarlets) (2 Caps)
Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (85 Caps)
Nick Tompkins (Dragons) (8 Caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (25 Caps)
George North (Ospreys) (98 Caps)
Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (29 Caps)
Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues) (22 Caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester) (4 Caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (93 Caps)
Liam Williams (Scarlets) (67 Caps)
Players unavailable for selection due to injury:
Rob Evans, Nicky Smith, Samson Lee, Ross Moriarty, James Davies, Ellis Jenkins, Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Patchell, Scott Williams, Jonah Holmes.