Cardiff’s uncapped duo, Teddy Williams and Mason Grady, have been named in Wales’ squad for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations Championship.
Four uncapped players are included in Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad, with the Cardiff academy graduates amongst the eight Blue and Blacks stars involved.
Prop Rhys Carré is rewarded for his fine club form with a recall to the front row division, alongside Cardiff team-mate Dillon Lewis.
Taulupe Faletau is also included in the forwards, as the talismanic number eight fast approaches his 100th cap for Wales.
Josh Adams and Tomos Williams retain their spots in the squad, while Liam Williams is reinstated after missing the Autumn Nations Series with a shoulder injury.
Grady and Williams, who both came through the club’s pathway system and are former Glantaf players, have enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Blue and Blacks’ first team.
The other uncapped players named are Ospreys’ Rhys Davies and Kieran Williams. Ken Owens takes over the captaincy duties, with further recalls for the likes of Leon Brown, Rhys Webb, Owen William and Aaron Wainwright.
A further five graduates from Cardiff’s pathway system are included in the form of Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby), Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys) and Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets)
Gatland said: “It’s probably a bigger squad than I’d normally name, but we want to have a good Six Nations and also look forward to the world cup.
“We’ve some youngsters that have come in and then we’ve some older very experienced players that we need to manage. It's looking at the whole element for the squad and how we get the balance right, because that’s definitely going to be a challenge over the next ten months.
“There are some players that were unlucky they didn’t’ make the squad, so the message to them is keep working hard you’re not out of the picture.
Regarding the captaincy, Gatland added: “Ken’s incredibly experienced and a passionate Welshman – it means a lot to him to play for Wales. He’s also very popular with the players.
“He came back from injury and was absolutely outstanding during the autumn campaign. Probably, if you’re picking a team at the moment he’s the number one in that position. But he’s going to have some competition with Dewi and Bradley as well which is going to be great.”
The squad will meet up at the national training base in Hensol on Monday 23 January ahead of its first game against Ireland which will take place at Principality Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday 4 February (KO 14.15h).
Wales 2023 Guinness Six Nations squad
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby 17 caps)*
Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 45 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 17 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 8 caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets – 86 caps), Captain
Bradley Roberts (Dragons – 3 caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons – 22 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 67 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 45 caps)*
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 41 caps)
Rhys Davies (Ospreys – uncapped)
Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 1 cap)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 155 caps)
Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)*
Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 95 caps)
Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 6 caps)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 4 caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 89 caps)
Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs – 3 caps)*
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 36 caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 16 caps)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys – 36 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 40 caps)*
Dan Biggar (Toulon – 103 caps)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets – 21 caps)*
Owen Williams (Ospreys – 3 caps)
Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)*
Joe Hawkins (Ospreys – 1 cap)
George North (Ospreys – 109 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 25 caps)
Keiran Williams (Ospreys – uncapped)
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 44 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 55 caps)*
Rio Dyer (Dragons – 3 caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 97 caps)*
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 22 caps)*
Liam Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 81 caps)
* denotes Cardiff pathway graduates