By David Williams
Dan Biggar has been named as Wales captain for this season’s Guinness Six Nations Championship.
The Northampton and Lions star takes over from the injured Alun Wyn Jones, who is among a number of high-profile absentees.
Other players not part of the squad due to injuries are Jones’ fellow British and Irish Lions George North, Leigh Halfpenny, Ken Owens, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau.
But flanker Ross Moriarty, who has not played since the autumn due to a shoulder problem, does make Wales head coach Wayne Pivac’s 36-man group.
The squad includes three uncapped players in hooker Dewi Lake, his Ospreys colleague – flanker Jac Morgan – and Cardiff number eight James Ratti.
Moriarty and Alex Cuthbert could win their 50th caps during the campaign, Jonathan Davies could reach the milestone of 100 Test appearances overall and Biggar would be in line for his 100th Wales cap if he features in all five matches.
Wales have named a 36-man squad for the Guinness Six Nations featuring three uncapped players as Dan Biggar captains for the campaign.
➥ Dan Biggar fydd capten Cymru ar gyfer Chwe Gwlad 2022.
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) January 18, 2022
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “In terms of captaincy we’ve named Dan Biggar.
“With the experience missing with some players out injured, we wanted someone who had experienced the competition on a number of occasions and knows the rigours of it. He gives us that – he has 95 Wales caps and he’s toured with the British and Irish Lions.
“Dan has the respect of the other players and management so we think he’ll do a great job.
“We are excited to get back together as a squad when we meet up on Monday.
“The Guinness Six Nations is a very special competition and we want to go out and win, like every other nation. This is tournament rugby, so it’s about working hard in training and preparing well each week.
“Last year the Six Nations offered fans an exciting brand of rugby with lots of tries and, while we know we have five tough matches ahead and the margins in Test rugby are fine, we are looking forward to the challenge.
“With the world cup on the horizon next year, every match will be important for development on the road to France.
Following last week’s confirmation that spectators can return to watch Wales in Cardiff Pivac added: “It’s fantastic news that we will continue to have crowds at Principality Stadium.
“We have the most incredible fans and the atmosphere they create is second to none. I know the players cannot wait to get back out and put in a performance for them.”
The squad will meet up at the national training base in Hensol on Monday 24 January ahead of its first game against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Saturday 5 February (KO 2.15pm).
WALES 2022 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS SQUAD
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby – 16 caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 38 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 5 caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 23 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – uncapped)
Bradley Roberts (Ulster Rugby – 1 cap)
Leon Brown (Dragons – 16 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 60 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 34 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 29 caps), vice-captain
Ben Carter (Dragons – 5 caps)
Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby – 13 caps)
Will Rowlands (Dragons – 13 caps)
Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs – 2 caps)
Taine Basham (Dragons – 7 caps)
Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Rugby – 14 caps)
Jac Morgan (Ospreys – uncapped)
Ross Moriarty (Dragons – 49 caps)
James Ratti – (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 34 caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 65 caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 8 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 29 caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 29 caps)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 95 caps), captain
Rhys Priestland (Cardiff Rugby – 52 caps)
Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears – 13 caps)
Jonathan Davies (Scarlets – 93 caps)
Uilisi Halaholo (Cardiff Rugby – 9 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 16 caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 26 caps)
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 35 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 48 caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 12 caps)
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets – 8 caps)
Liam Williams (Scarlets – 74 caps)
Players unavailable for selection due to injury:
Elliott Dee, Ken Owens, Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Josh Macleod, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Johnny Williams, George North, Leigh Halfpenny