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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 14:29 GMT
Ospreys dominate Wales selection
Wales coach Warren Gatland (right) and Ospreys prop Duncan Jones
Twickenham will be Gatland's first game in charge of Wales
Warren Gatland has named 13 Ospreys players in his first starting line-up for Wales' Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Scrum-half Mike Phillips replaces the injured Dwayne Peel and James Hook is favoured over Peel's Scarlets team-mate Stephen Jones at outside-half.

There is no place in the side for Blues pair Gethin Jenkins and Tom Shanklin.

Blues flanker Martyn Williams and Scarlets wing Mark Jones are the two non-Ospreys players in the starting XV.

Jones will play on the left wing with Shane Williams switching to the right in the back three ahead of Blues youngsters Jamie Roberts and Tom James.

The half-back pairing of Phillips and Hook will feed a centre partnership of Gavin Henson and Sonny Parker, with Lee Byrne selected as the last line of defence at full-back.

606: DEBATE
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Up front the regional front row of Duncan Jones, Huw Bennett and Adam Jones provide the scrummaging power Gatland says will be all-important against England.

In the second row Ian Gough partners Alun Wyn Jones and captain Ryan Jones joins Jonathan Thomas alongside Martyn Williams in the back row.

The last time one club was so heavily represented in the Wales team was 60 years ago, when 10 Cardiff players featured in a 3-3 draw at Twickenham in 1948.

"We want to stress that this is very much a 22-man selection, we have an extremely strong bench to call upon with three former Lions in there if we need them," said Gatland.

"We haven't gone out to pick as many Ospreys as possible by design, the fact that there are 13 of them is probably more of a coincidence than anything else.

"But saying that, you can't escape the fact that they've been one of the form sides in Europe so far this season.

"We are going to Twickenham on a giant-killing mission, they are the big boys with the extensive resources and huge strength in depth, but we still give ourselves every chance.

"We are like a First Division club going to Manchester United in a cup tie and any suggestion that we are anything but underdogs in this game is ridiculous, but we do have the self-belief to think that we are in with a chance against our bigger brother from over the border."

Scarlets scrum-half Peel, who has been struggling with a shoulder injury, was ruled out by an ankle problem, but expects to be in contention to face Scotland next week.


Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Shane Williams (Ospreys), Sonny Parker (Ospreys), Gavin Henson (Ospreys), Mark Jones (Scarlets); James Hook (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Ian Gough (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Martyn Williams (Blues), Ryan Jones (capt, Ospreys).
Replacements: Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Alix Popham (Scarlets), Gareth Cooper (Gloucester), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues).

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

SEE ALSO
Tom Shanklin's column
29 Jan 08 |  Welsh
Six Nations pundit predictions
28 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations Young Guns 2008
27 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
31 Dec 07 |  Wales


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