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)
Ireland captain Rory Best and forwards coach Simon Easterby spoke to the media at the Captain's Run press conference in Paris earlier today, ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with France on Saturday.
Looking forward to locking horns with France, Conor Murray said: "I know with the type of players and type of game Guy Noves likes to play, they can throw up anything. We've got to be ready for any style of game, an offloading game, a free-flowing game."
Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby chats about sharing the defence coaching duties, Sean O'Brien (tight hamstring) sitting out Wednesday's training session and also talks about the strength of the Welsh back row.
Andrew Trimble talks about coming back from injury to make Ireland's RBS 6 Nations squad and dealing with the excitement and nervousness ahead of a big game like Sunday's Championship opener against Wales.
We hear from returning front rowers Adam McBurney and Conan O'Donnell, captain James Ryan and fellow newcomer Paul Kiernan as the Ireland Under-20s look forward to opening the U-20 RBS 6 Nations on Friday night against Wales at their new home of Donnybrook.
Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong spoke about the excitement of facing his first RBS 6 Nations campaign, the challenge of scrummaging against Wales and his earliest memories of the Championship - which include apple pie!