Wales name squad for Six Nations defence

Last updated 10:00 16/01/2013

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Wales recalled fullback Lee Byrne and fit-again prop Adam Jones to an injury-hit squad for the defence of its Six Nations title, with five newcomers including South Africa-born flanker Andries Pretorius also making the 35-man list.

Interim coach Rob Howley, who is in charge for the tournament while head coach Warren Gatland is on British and Irish Lions duty, is without injured locks Alun-Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris and Bradley Davies.

Flanker Dan Lydiate - the player of the 2012 Six Nations - is also missing from the provisional squad through injury, along with first-five Rhys Priestland and prop Aaron Jarvis.

The Welsh were whitewashed in the autumn internationals, with losses to Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia stretching their run of defeats to seven. There is still plenty of talent in their squad, however, many of whom helped Wales win the Six Nations Grand Slam last year.

"We have put together a very experienced squad and complemented that by rewarding the in-form players with a call-up," Howley said.

"We have a group of players who know how to win big matches and have experienced success."

Byrne, who plays in France for Clermont-Auvergne, hasn't appeared for Wales since the 2011 World Cup but the return of Jones - one of the world's best props - will be the biggest fillip for Howley.

Pretorius, who is captain of the Cardiff Blues, became available for Wales last month after qualifying on residency grounds and is joined in the squad by fellow uncapped players Josh Navidi, James King, Andrew Coombs and Eli Walker.

Wales begins its Six Nations campaign against Ireland on February 2.

Wales:

Forwards: Scott Andrews, Craig Mitchell, Adam Jones, Paul James, Gethin Jenkins, Ryan Bevington, Richard Hibbard, Ken Owens, Matthew Rees, Ryan Jones, Lou Reed, Ian Evans, James King, Andrew Coombs, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau, Andries Pretorius.

Backs: Tavis Knoyle, Mike Phillips, Lloyd Williams, Dan Biggar, James Hook, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Eli Walker, Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams, Lee Byrne.

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- AP

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