Wales rugby squad: Hadleigh Parkes included for first time

Hadleigh Parkes
Hadleigh Parkes worked with Scarlets boss Wayne Pivac previously at Auckland

Hadleigh Parkes has been selected in the Wales squad for the autumn internationals even though he is ineligible for the first three matches.

Warren Gatland has named a 36-man squad for matches with Australia, Georgia, South Africa and New Zealand.

New Zealand-born Parkes is eligible for Wales on residency grounds on December 2, the day of the South Africa match.

Uncapped quartet Elliot Dee, Sam Cross, Leon Brown and Owen Watkin are included.

Gatland, who returns to Wales after his spell coaching the British and Irish Lions, also recalls Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland.

Priestland - who won the last of his 48 caps in 2016 - has impressed with his displays in the Champions Cup.

Rob Evans is also included, despite being an injury concern after failing his Head Injury Assessment (HIA), but Ross Moriarty and Gethin Jenkins who have yet to play this season, miss out.

Sam Warburton is also out of contention with injury, but Justin Tipuric and Dan Lydiate have been selected despite being fitness doubts.

Injury also deprives Gatland of Northampton Saints wing George North and Cardiff Blues fly-half Gareth Anscombe.

Four more familiar faces are absent from the list in Luke Charteris, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts and Sam Davies, though they are missing for selection reasons rather than fitness.

Missing trio Roberts, Charteris and Williams have 215 caps between them.

Rhys Priestland
Rhys Priestland has made 48 appearances for Wales

Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin is also not selected, confirming his fears that a lack of rugby would harm his hopes.

Baldwin started only one of Wales' 11 Tests last season and has played only three games this term after being bitten by a lion.

"I want to be in that squad, but have I played enough?" he said.

"It's about putting in a performance and getting back to where I need to be and getting over the frustrating start of the season."

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac told BBC Sport Wales that Parkes deserved his selection, but expressed disappointment that Scott Williams missed out.

"Obviously I am elated for Hadleigh," Pivac said. "Since he has been here he has been a strong part of the team, he is good team on and off the field and has had some pretty consistent performances over the last three years so I am thrilled for him.

"He is strong in the tackle, he gets a bit of go-forward and is a pretty honest worker over the 80 minutes.

"But I am obviously disappointed for Scotty. Our job is to help Scotty get back in there and that starts this Saturday against the Blues.

"If you look at the All Blacks squad that has been named and now this Welsh squad, there is an eye to the World Cup, as it should be. I think Scotty has enough Test runs on the board to know what he can do at the top level."

Scrum-half Rhys Webb is included despite his well documented situation that will see him become ineligible for Wales once he moves to Toulon, due to a change in the selection policy rules.

Wales face Australia on 11 November, followed by Tests with Georgia, South Africa and the All Blacks on consecutive Saturdays.

Wales squad

Forwards: 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, Sam Cross, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric;

Backs: 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.

Top Stories