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Gatland names the Wales Six Nations squad without Louis Rees-Zammit

Wales is set for a seismic shift in its rugby landscape as Warren Gatland, the seasoned head coach, announces a dynamic 34-man squad for the upcoming 2024 Six Nations. In a surprising turn of events, Louis Rees-Zammit, the electrifying wing, is set to depart the sport, heading to Florida to carve out a career in American football, sending shockwaves through the rugby community.

Dafydd Jenkins, the Exeter Chiefs lock, emerges as the new captain in the absence of Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake. Gatland’s decision to entrust leadership to the young second-row reflects a bold departure from convention. Jenkins, who has captained Exeter with distinction, expressed his delight at the appointment, promising to bring professionalism and dedication to the role.

Gatland acknowledged the challenges posed by the retirements of stalwarts like Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar, and Leigh Halfpenny. The departure of World Cup co-captains Morgan and Lake, both sidelined due to injuries, prompted the selection of Jenkins. Gatland expressed confidence in Jenkins, citing his leadership qualities and the respect he commands within the squad.

The 2024 Six Nations squad introduces a fresh wave of talent, with five uncapped players making the cut. Bath’s Archie Griffin, along with Cardiff quartet Evan Lloyd, Alex Mann, Mackenzie Martin, and Cameron Winnett, will don the Welsh jersey, adding a youthful exuberance to the squad.

The squad boasts an average age of 25, indicating a deliberate move towards a younger generation. Gatland, known for his strategic foresight, emphasised the importance of continuity while looking ahead to the next Rugby World Cup cycle. Veterans like George North and Gareth Davies bring a touch of experience, balancing the injection of youth.

Gatland expressed his enthusiasm for developing the next generation of Welsh rugby talent over the next four years. He emphasised the need to return to basics, honing fundamental skills, and resetting goals for the team. The coach sees the opening game against Scotland as a crucial test, highlighting the significance of a strong start to the tournament.

The selected squad comprises a mix of seasoned campaigners and promising youngsters, all united by a common goal – success in the Six Nations and building a foundation for the future. As Wales braces for this new era under Gatland’s guidance, eyes will be on the unfolding journey of the squad and their pursuit of glory in the 2024 Six Nations.

Wales 2024 Six Nations squad:

Forwards: Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Corey Domachowski (Cardiff), Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Evan Lloyd* (Cardiff), Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff), Archie Griffin* (Bath), Leon Brown (Dragons), Will Rowlands (Racing 92), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Dafydd Jenkins (captain, Exeter), Teddy Williams (Cardiff), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers), Alex Mann* (Cardiff), James Botham (Cardiff), Mackenzie Martin* (Cardiff), Taine Basham (Dragons).

Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Sam Costelow (Scarlets), Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets), Cai Evans (Dragons), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), George North (Ospreys), Mason Grady (Cardiff), Joe Roberts (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Cardiff), Rio Dyer (Dragons), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Cameron Winnett* (Cardiff), Tom Rogers (Scarlets).