Six Nations 2017: Alun Wyn Jones succeeds Sam Warburton as Wales captain

Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Date: Sunday, 5 February Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Lock Alun Wyn Jones has taken over from Sam Warburton as Wales captain for the 2017 Six Nations.

Flanker Warburton's six-year tenure ended as coach Rob Howley named seven uncapped players in his 36-man squad.

Leicester fly-half Owen Williams, Wasps flanker Thomas Young and Newport Gwent Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt are among the uncapped call-ups.

Welsh exiles George North, Jamie Roberts and Taulupe Faletau continue as "wildcard" picks.

'Sam agrees this is the best way forward'

Warburton first captained Wales in 2011, and became the youngest player to lead them at a World Cup later that year.

He has won 69 caps for Wales, a record 49 as captain, and also skippered the British and Irish Lions.

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Howley explains Wales captaincy change

Ospreys captain Jones, 31, has often deputised for the Cardiff Blues player, including for the Lions' third Test win over Australia in 2013, when Warburton was injured.

Jones has won 105 caps for Wales, and six for the Lions and Howley said: "He is the first name on the team-sheet."

Howley said he has spoken to Warburton about him switching from open to blind-side of the back-row and highlighted the strength of back-row competition he faced.

Howley: 'We want Sam to get his mojo back'

Howley is deputising for Warren Gatland while the New Zealander prepares to take the Lions to face the All Blacks in June.

The current Wales coach says Gatland backed his decision over the captaincy and hopes Warburton "can get his mojo back".

"I spoke to Sam and he agreed it was the best decision for him," said Howley.

"He is a world class player and we want him to be the best he can be."

Howley added: "It's an honour to select Alun Wyn as captain.

"His vast experience, as a player and a leader will help drive this squad forward and I believe he will flourish in the role."

Wales games in the 2017 Six Nations
Sunday, 5 February, 14:00 GMT: Italy v Wales
Saturday, 11 February, 16:50 GMT: Wales v England
Saturday, 25 February, 14:25 GMT: Scotland v Wales
Friday, 10 March, 20:05 GMT: Wales v Ireland
Saturday, 18 March, 14:45 GMT: France v Wales

Howley praised Warburton for the "great success" he has had as Wales captain.

He added: "We want him to concentrate on his game and to be the best player he can be.

"No player is guaranteed their place in an international team and we want Sam to be playing his very best rugby and he agrees this is the best way forward."

Who is affected by 'Gatland's Law'?

North, Roberts and Faletau fall under the so-called "Gatland's Law", which limits to three the number of affected Welsh exiles Howley can select this season.

The Welsh Rugby Union's (WRU) senior player selection policy (SPSP) means only three players who play outside Wales can be picked.

Japan-based Dominic Day and Bristol scrum-half Rhodri Williams are the others affected.

However, Bath lock Charteris, Young, Williams, Gloucester back-row Ross Moriarty and Exeter prop Tomas Francis are not captured by the rule.

Teenager Giles among those to miss out

Young, 24, has impressed this season under his father Dai - a former Wales prop and captain - at Wasps.

Along with Ospreys' Justin Tipuric and Gloucester flanker Ross Moriarty, Young is putting pressure on Warburton, 28, for a starting spot.

Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb makes the squad having not played since injuring an ankle in Wales' November defeat by Australia.

Howley says Webb will play some part for Ospreys in the European Challenge Cup at Newcastle on Saturday as he completes his recovery.

Owen Williams
Owen Williams will leave Leicester for Gloucester for 2017-18

The uncapped contingent are Ospreys flanker Olly Cracknell and lock Rory Thornton, Leicester fly-half Owen Williams, Scarlets wing Steffan Evans, Hewitt, Aled Davies and Young.

Only Davies and Thornton have previously been in senior Wales squads.

In the absence of veteran record Wales cap-holder prop Gethin Jenkins (torn bicep), Wales welcome back Scarlets loose-head Rob Evans after injury.

Jenkins, 36, has amassed 129 Wales caps and five more for the Lions.

Howley said after the hamstring injury suffered by 18-year-old Ospreys wing Keelan Giles at the weekend, he felt it was in the player's "best interests" not to pick him.

"We don't know how significant the injury is," added Howley.

Wales 2017 Six Nations squad

Forwards: Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Bath Rugby), Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Olly Cracknell (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Thomas Young (Wasps).

Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Aled Davies (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Sam Davies (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Ashton Hewitt (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Steffan Evans (Scarlets), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Scarlets) Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon).

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