Wales have named a 47-man training squad - including eight players from Cardiff Blues - to prepare for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Congratulations to Gethin Jenkins, Kristian Dacey, Sam Warburton, Lloyd Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Patchell, Cory Allen, Alex Cuthbert and soon to be Cardiff Blues player once more Tom James – who have all been named in the squad.
The players will embark on an intensive preparation regime over the coming months before the final 31-man Rugby World Cup squad is announced on August 31.
All 12 players on National Dual Contracts are named in the extended squad, which is made up of 25 forwards and 22 backs.
Gethin Jenkins will be aiming to feature in a fourth World Cup for his country and is named as one of eight props along with Scarlets trio Rob Evans, Rhodri Jones and Samson Lee, Ospreys pair Nicky Smith and Aaron Jarvis, Paul James and the uncapped Tomas Francis. Richard Hibbard, Ken Owens, Scott Baldwin and Kristian Dacey are the four hookers.
Wales’ second row contingent from the 2015 RBS 6 Nations, Alun Wyn Jones, Jake Ball, Luke Charteris and Bradley Davies are all included along with the uncapped pair of Bath lock Dominic Day and Wales U20 captain Rory Thornton. Osprey Thornton, who has previously trained with the national side will link up with the squad following the conclusion of his U20 commitments.
Captain Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau who all featured in the 2011 RWC are included along with Osprey trio James King, Dan Baker and Justin Tipuric as well as uncapped Gloucester flanker Ross Moriarity.
There are four uncapped players included in the backs with Gareth Anscombe, Newport Gwent Dragons pair Jack Dixon and Tyler Morgan and Ospreys wing Eli Walker all named.
At scrum-half, Six Nations squad members Gareth Davies, Mike Phillips and Rhys Webb are joined by the recalled Lloyd Williams.
Elsewhere Dan Biggar, Rhys Priestland, Rhys Patchell, James Hook and Matthew Morgan are all included along with centres Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams and Cory Allen.
Also European Champions Cup winner Leigh Halfpenny, Six Nations squad members Hallam Amos, Alex Cuthbert, George North and Liam Williams, are joined by the recalled, Cardiff Blues bound wing, Tom James.
“As a coaching team we are extremely happy with the blend of the squad in terms of the experience we are able to include as well as the young talent that has really impressed us,” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland
“The easy part for the players has been done in terms of being selected, the hard work will begin from day one with a huge schedule of preparation ahead of them.
“The players will face a tough couple of months of intensive training, we will be taking them to Switzerland, Qatar and Poland and I can assure everyone they are no holiday camps.
“We put a lot of emphasis on conditioning and preparation in 2011 which worked well for us and we are looking to step that up again this time.
“The 47 players all have the opportunity to make that 31-man party and I’m sure they will all be eager to feature in a World Cup on these shores.
“We believe the longer we are together the better we perform and this summer of preparation will give us every opportunity to be at our best come Rugby World Cup.”
Following individually tailored rest periods, the squad will begin to meet up for initial conditioning training at the WRU National Centre of Excellence from June 15.
They will then embark on the first of three intensive training camps in Switzerland from July 1-15. The players will then head to Doha on July 20 for further bespoke training for nine days.
The squad will return to prepare for the first Dove Men Test against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium (Saturday August 8), before three days training in North Wales. They will then return to Spala for seven nights on August 16 ahead of the return warm-up fixture in Dublin against Ireland on August 29.
Warren Gatland and his fellow selectors will then whittle down the squad to the 31 players who will contest the 2015 Rugby World Cup on August 31.
Wales will then play the final Dove Men Test against Italy, at the Millennium Stadium, on Saturday September 5.
WALES RWC TRAINING SQUAD:
Rob Evans (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester Rugby), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Dominic Day (Bath Rugby), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (CAPT - Cardiff Blues).
Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), James Hook (Gloucester Rugby), Matthew Morgan (Bristol Rugby), Rhys Patchell (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Jack Dixon (Newport Gwent Dragons), Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Tom James (Exeter Chiefs/Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Eli Walker (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets).