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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Fly-half Jones to captain Wales
Wales' new captain Stephen Jones and coach Gareth Jenkins (in background)
Gareth Jenkins (left) believes Stephen Jones is the right man to lead Wales
Llanelli Scarlets outside-half Stephen Jones has been named as the player to lead Wales to the next World Cup.

The 56-cap man, 28, has won the armband ahead of Toulouse back Gareth Thomas, with summer skipper Duncan Jones and Martyn Williams also considered.

Scarlets centre Gavin Evans, 22, is the only uncapped man in the 32-man squad for the autumn Tests.

2005 Grand Slam heroes Thomas, Kevin Morgan, Tom Shanklin, Brent Cockbain and Ryan Jones have all been recalled.

But Michael Owen - who led Wales to the Grand Slam after Thomas was injured - has been omitted, having recently returned from shoulder trouble.

Gareth Thomas' reaction was admirable, to say the least

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins

Fellow Dragons back-rower Colin Charvis also misses out, along with Blues fly-half Nicky Robinson, prop John Yapp, Scarlets centre Matthew Watkins and Ospreys midfield man Sonny Parker, who was thought to be considering an international comeback.

Dafydd Jones, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Rhys Williams, Richard Hibbard, Jamie Ringer, Andy Williams and Dragons prop Rhys Thomas were all ruled out by injury.

Lock Brent Cockbain is one of 12 Ospreys included, but his autumn place is under threat from next week's citing hearing after an alleged stamp in the 17-16 win over Sale last week.

Centre Gavin Evans has sparkled for the Scarlets this season
Evans has forced himself in with some classy displays

Thomas led Wales in the opening games of last season's Six Nations, but he was sidelined after suffering a mini stroke following the stresses of Mike Ruddock's departure.

"I flew out to speak to Gareth [Thomas] and his reaction was admirable, to say the least," said Wales coach Gareth Jenkins.

"Playing his rugby in France did not count in his favour in our decision, but Gareth's point of view was that he holds Stephen in extremely high regard and that he will be on his shoulder supporting him throughout his tenure as captain.

"Gareth will continue to be what he is, and his infectious enthusiasm and leadership qualities will continue to benefit Wales for a long time to come."

There has always been a sense that Stephen was destined to captain his country

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins

Former Llanelli and Scarlets boss Jenkins worked with Aberystwyth-born Jones at club and regional level before the Lions outside-half moved to France and a two-season stint at Clermont Auvergne.

"Since we brought him to Llanelli as an 18-year-old, there has always been a sense that he was destined to captain his country at some stage," said Jenkins.

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"I just wasn't to know at the time it would be me making the appointment."

Jones made his Wales debut in the 96-13 loss to South Africa at Loftus Versfeld in 1998, and his only previous experience of captaining his country was in the 43-9 pre-World Cup loss to England in Cardiff in 2003.

But confidence will be high that his next landmark game - against Australia at the Millennium Stadium on 4 November - will be more successful.


Wales squad for the November Tests with Australia, the Pacific Islands, Canada and New Zealand:

Backs: K Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), L Byrne (Ospreys), M Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys), Gareth Thomas (Toulouse), H Luscombe (Harlequins), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), G Evans (Llanelli Scarlets), C Sweeney (Newport Gwent Dragons), G Henson (Ospreys), J Hook (Ospreys), S Jones (Llanelli Scarlets, capt), D Peel (Llanelli Scarlets), M Phillips (Cardiff Blues), G Cooper (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Forwards: G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), A Jones (Ospreys), D Jones (Ospreys), C Horsman (Worcester), R Thomas (Cardiff Blues), H Bennett (Ospreys), M Rees (Llanelli Scarlets), B Cockbain (Ospreys), I Gough (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Sidoli (Cardiff Blues), I Evans (Ospreys), A Wyn Jones (Ospreys), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), Gavin Thomas (Llanelli Scarlets), J Thomas (Ospreys), A Popham (Llanelli Scarlets), R Jones (Ospreys).

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