Cardiff - Wales great Jamie Roberts faced further disappointment on Tuesday after being left out of the squad for their four autumn Tests.
The 30-year-old failed to make this year's British and Irish Lions
squad and now head coach Warren Gatland has left the 93-times capped
player out of the Tests with Australia, Georgia, world champions New
Zealand and South Africa.
There is a first call-up for New Zealand-born Hadleigh Parkes, even
though the 30-year-old Scarlets utility back will only be eligible for
selection due to residency rules for the final Test against the
Springboks on December 2.
Gatland, who will lock horns again with the All Blacks having guided
the Lions to a sensational 1-1 series tie with the third Test drawn,
recalls flyhalf Rhys Priestland who won the last of his 48 caps in
He will vie with Dan Biggar for the playmaking role and probably partnering scrumhalf Rhys Webb.
Webb's ill-timed move to Toulon next year could see his Test career
brought to an abrupt end thanks to new rules which stipulate players
plying their trade abroad must have at least 60 caps to be eligible for
There is no place either for hooker Scott Baldwin, whose now infamous
encounter with a lion at a game park in South Africa resulted in his
hand being bitten.
Gatland, though, said he is looking forward to seeing how the less
experienced players melded in with the World Cup in Japan just two years
"I'm really excited about this squad as we kick off the two year countdown to the 2019 Rugby World Cup," said Gatland.
"We see this series as an opportunity to expose some players to the
Test environment and continue to build our game as we look ahead to two
"This autumn is a lot different to 12 months ago, where the focus was all about rankings.
"We have selected five uncapped players, there are a further six who
made their debuts on the summer tour so it is a big opportunity to see
all these players in this environment and I'm looking forward to seeing
what they are able to do."
Gatland, though, offered encouragement to the likes of Roberts,
Baldwin and Luke Charteris saying they shouldn't consider their Test
careers were over.
"The important message for those players who have missed out: the door isn't closed."
Rob Evans, Wyn Jones, Nicky Smith, Leon Brown, Tomas Francis, Samson Lee, Kristian Dacey, Elliot Dee, Ken Owens, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Seb Davies, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Sam Cross, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric
Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell, Rhys Priestland, Owen Williams, Jonathan Davies, Tyler Morgan, Hadleigh Parkes, Owen Watkin, Hallam Amos, Alex Cuthbert, Steffan Evans, Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams