World Cup skipper Colin Charvis, currentlyplaying for second division French club Tarbes, retains the captaincy in theWales' Six Nations squad named by coach Steve Hansen on Monday. Wales, hoping to build on encouraging displays in the World Cupagainst New Zealand and England, kick off their Six Nations campaign at home toScotland on February 14. Only two of the squad - Charvis and Leeds back-row forward AlixPopham - are not involved in Wales' new regional set-up. It is Hansen's last season in charge before returning home to NewZealand, where he is expected to become All Blacks supremo Graham Henry'sassistant coach. European quarter-finalists Llanelli provide seven squad members,as do Cardiff Blues, while there are eight Celtic Warriors representativesand five from Neath-Swansea Ospreys. Hal Luscombe and Michael Owen fly theGwent Dragons' flag. Rhys Williams, Garan Evans and Gareth Thomas would appear to bethe full-back options, with Kevin Morgan currently sidelined through anankle injury. "We are happy with the form of all the players, and the morecompetition we
have the better it is," Hansen said. "The process has been made more difficult than normal due tothe number of players who have been in good form throughout the regions. "But rather than seeing this as a negative, we look at thatas a positive." Wales' squad: Backs Garan Evans (Llanelli Scarlets), Rhys Williams (Cardiff Blues),Shane Williams (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Craig Morgan (Cardiff Blues),Gareth Thomas (Celtic Warriors), Hal Luscombe (Gwent Dragons), Jamie Robinson(Blues), Mark Taylor (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues), Sonny Parker (Warriors),Iestyn Harris (Blues), Ceri Sweeney (Warriors), Stephen Jones (Scarlets),Dwayne Peel (Scarlets), Gareth Cooper (Warriors) Forwards Iestyn Thomas (Scarlets), Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Adam Jones(Ospreys), G Jenkins (Warriors), Robin McBryde (Scarlets), Gareth Williams(Blues), Mefin Davies (Warriors), Robert Sidoli (Warriors), Brent Cockbain(Warriors), Gareth Llewellyn (Ospreys), Michael Owen (Dragons), Colin Charvis (Tarbes,FRA, capt), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), MartynWilliams (Blues), Alix Popham (Leeds)
Tickets are now on sale for the first ever Women's November International Series to be held in the UCD Bowl. Kids go free with any adult tickets. Ireland will face world champions England, top ranked Canada and the Black Ferns of New Zealand.
Tournament Director Garrett Tubridy sets the scene for an exciting weekend of rugby at UCD where 16 Women's Sevens teams will battle it out at for one qualifying spot for the Rio Olympics. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie/sevens.
Tadhg Furlong reflects on a disappointing day for Ireland against South Africa. However, he will take positives from his first Test start and be ready to build for the final match of the series in Port Elizabeth.
Paddy Jackson is preparing for Ireland's second Test against South Africa on Saturday (kick-off 5pm local time/4pm Irish time). The Ulster out-half has been checking out Ellis Park in advance of the match.
Nicole Cronin, the inaugural Irish Women's Sevens Player of the Year in 2014, is looking to make an impact on her return to the green jersey at this weekend's Rugby Europe Women's Sevens Grand Prix Series in Kazan, Russia.
The Ireland Women's 15-a-side captain Niamh Briggs was part of the Irish Development team that won the Amsterdam 7s title recently. Next up is the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series in Kazan, Russia this weekend and then a shot at Olympic Sevens qualification at UCD on June 25-26.