Wales pick injured Taulupe Faletau for autumn, Rhys Priestland left out

Robert Howley (L) is deputising for Lions boss Warren Gatland for Wales during 2016-17
Robert Howley (L) is deputising for Lions boss Warren Gatland for Wales during 2016-17
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

Number eight Taulupe Faletau has been included in Wales' squad for the autumn internationals despite a knee injury.

Faletau, 25, is one of three wildcard picks under the Welsh Rugby Union's senior player selection policy, along with George North and Jamie Roberts.

That means fly-half Rhys Priestland misses out, but there is a first call-up for Ospreys number 10 Sam Davies.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny returns after a year out injured, while wing Alex Cuthbert is recalled.

There are also returns for props Rhys Gill and Scott Andrews with Scarlets loose-head Rob Evans out injured.

Ospreys lock Rory Thornton, 21, is the second uncapped player in the squad along with 23-year-old Davies.

Sam Davies
Ospreys fly-half Sam Davies is a former winner of the World Rugby Junior Player of the Year award

Faletau is not expected back in training by club Bath until mid-November, but the back row is boosted by Dan Lydiate's return after the flanker missed the summer tour of New Zealand following shoulder surgery.

"Taulupe is still in his rehab process and has been working closely with Bath," Wales coach Rob Howley said.

"We hope he will be available in the later part of the campaign, but his experience will be vitally important to have around the squad."

Sam Warburton continues as captain despite having surgery on a cheek injury.

Wales open their autumn series against Australia on 5 November.

That game falls outside World Rugby's autumn Tests window and means Wales are without their England-based players for that match.

Howley also had to contend with the WRU's senior player selection policy, which means only three of Faletau, North, Roberts and Priestland could be picked as wildcards.

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

However, all other England and France-based players are freely available to Howley, who is deputising for 2017 British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland.

Wales squad for autumn internationals

Forwards: Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Rhys Gill (Cardiff Blues), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Bath Rugby), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby), James King (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (capt, Cardiff Blues).

Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Sam Davies (Ospreys), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

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