Injury clouds dampen Welsh Six Nations hope
Wales coach Warren Gatland has announced a tried and tested 32-man squad for the defence of their Six Nations title, but it's not without injury clouds.
Sam Warburton has not played since the defeat by Australia in November in which he suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury, but the flanker is expected to be available from the start of the tournament next month.
Centre Jonathan Davies, who has a pectoral injury, will miss the first three games as Wales start their bid to win an unprecedented third Six Nations title in a row.
Gatland has stuck with the spine of last year's victorious British and Irish Lions squad with Warburton joined by prop Gethin Jenkins, centre Jamie Roberts, hooker Richard Hibbard, prop Adam Jones, winger George North and fullback Leigh Halfpenny.
"We have got an opportunity to create history and that is something we will focus on and something that will give us extra motivation," Gatland said in a Welsh Rugby Union statement.
"We picked a pretty experienced squad and kept it fairly tight at this stage. There is a possibility we may add one or two players in, there are a few younger guys that need a bit of rugby so we were keen for them to stay with the regions," he said.
Wales will host Italy at the Millennium Stadium on February 1 followed by a trip to Ireland.
They host France before travelling to Twickenham to face England and their final match is at home against Scotland.
Wales Six Nations Squad 2014
Forwards: Paul James (Bath), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Ken Owens(Scarlets), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton Capt (Cardiff Blues), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets)
Backs: Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), James Hook (Perpignan), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Liam Williams (Scarlets)