Rob Howley: Wales' George North and Jamie Roberts free to face Australia

Jamie Roberts (left) with George North
Jamie Roberts (left) and George North were both part of the British and Irish Lions' victorious 2013 tour of Australia
Wales Under Armour Test series
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Dates: Saturday, 5-26 November Opposition: Australia, Argentina, Japan, South Africa Kick-offs: 14:30/17:30 BST
Coverage: Live BBC Wales television and radio commentary; also on the BBC Sport website and app, plus live text commentaries

Wales coach Rob Howley says they will have England-based pair Jamie Roberts and George North available to face Australia in their opening autumn Test.

The game on 5 November falls outside World Rugby's Test window, which contravenes English Premiership rules.

But it appears North and Roberts - and the injured Taulupe Faletau - could have special dispensation to play.

"Having spoken to the players, some of them are available for the Australia game," said Howley.

"We've had no formal conversations with any of the English clubs.

"The players I've spoken to are the likes of Jamie, George and Toby [Taulupe Faletau]."

Harlequins' Roberts posted a message on his Instagram account saying he was "looking forward to meeting up" with the Wales squad next week.

Northampton paid a fine of £60,000 in 2013 after their wing North played for Wales against Australia in a match which took place outside of the international window.

North had agreed a three-year contract whereby he would be available for all Wales games, but the 24-year-old has since signed a new deal.

Centre Roberts, meanwhile, is in the second year of his Harlequins contract and any fresh release could prompt more action by Premiership Rugby Limited against its clubs.

Taulupe Faletau
Taulupe Faletau joined Bath from Newport Gwent Dragons ahead of the 2016-17 season

Wales also believe Toulon full-back Leigh Halfpenny will be available to line up against the Wallabies.

Bath number eight Faletau has been picked to lend experience to Wales training, although he is unlikely to be fit until the latter half of November if at all.

His inclusion, along with Roberts and North as the three wildcards under the Welsh Rugby Union's senior player selection policy, meant that Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland misses out.

Only three players who have signed new contracts outside Wales can be included in any squad.

Japan-based lock Dominic Day, Gloucester prop Nicky Thomas and scrum-half Rhodri Williams are the others affected by the rule.

Meanwhile, Wales captain Sam Warburton could make his return for Cardiff Blues against Pau in the European Challenge Cup on Friday 21 October, following a cheekbone injury.

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