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Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 08:58 UK

Charvis out of Wales tour squad


Interview: Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland has left Colin Charvis out of Wales' depleted squad for their summer tour to South Africa.

The back-rower was at the centre of a club v country conflict when the Dragons rejected Gatland's SOS to release him for a Wales training camp.

Wales coach Gatland is without a host of his Grand Slam winners but Mark Jones and Shane Williams are fit to face the world champions.

Uncapped trio Bradley Davies, Warren Fury and Andrew Bishop are included.

Gatland has handed an international return to Scarlets flanker Dafydd Jones who has not featured for Wales for more than two years since his injury nightmare began.

Ospreys centre Bishop, 22-year-old Blues lock Davies and 21-year-old London Irish scrum-half Fury have all been given a chance to shine by Gatland.


"This is a great chance for some of the younger guys," said Gatland.

"And for a number of the players chosen it is about what I've heard about them and Bradley and Andrew are thought of very highly.

"I also worked with Warren during our Wasps days and I know what a good kid he is."

But Charvis' omission is the real shock as it was thought the veteran Dragons captain would fill Wales' problem open-side flanker position as Martyn Williams is out injured.

"It wasn't a close decision," confirmed Gatland.

"We had looked at the possibility of bringing back Colin as a short-term fill but this tour is about the future and it has given us the chance to call some younger guys into the squad to develop them.

"We feel we can cover the number seven jersey by moving Jonathan Thomas from blind-side to open-side flanker and including Dafydd Jones in the squad."

Gatland overlooking Charvis could persuade the 35-year-old to now retire from a distinguished rugby career.

Charvis is the top try-scoring forward in international rugby with 22 and also has the honour of being Wales' most-capped forward, with 94.

So Gatland will defend his 100% record in charge with most of Wales' experienced players missing.

As well as Charvis and Williams remaining at home for differing reasons, the Wales coach is also without Grand Slam heroes Lee Byrne, Gavin Henson, Mike Phillips, Dwayne Peel and Alix Popham.

I've heard people talk about our so-called injury crisis but apart from Martyn Williams, we can just about put out just the same forward pack we put out during the Six Nations

Warren Gatland

Gatland said: "I've heard people talk about our so-called injury crisis but apart from Martyn Williams, we can just about put out just the same forward pack we put out during the Six Nations.

"I'm disappointed with some of the injuries but I've confidence in the other guys in the squad to come in and perform on the biggest stage."

The majority of Wales' Guinness Premiership players were also unable to make Gatland's pre-summer tour training camp in Ireland but Gloucester pair Gareth Delve and Gareth Cooper are in the tour squad.

Scarlets winger Jones has recovered from a knee injury while Ospreys superstar Williams, the Six Nations player of the tournament, has shrugged off a niggle.

The first Test against the World Cup holders will be at Bloemfontein's Vodacom Park on 7 June, followed by Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld the following Saturday.

Wales have beaten the Springboks just once in their history, and have never triumphed on South African soil.

Moreover, Wales have not beaten one of the Tri-Nations sides on their home turf since overcoming Australia in 1969, a 1987 win over the Wallabies having been played in New Zealand.

Wales squad for their summer tour South Africa:

Backs: Morgan Stoddart, Andrew Bishop, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, Tom James, Mark Jones, Sonny Parker, Tom Shanklin, Stephen Jones, James Hook, Andy Williams, Warren Fury, Gareth Cooper.

Forwards: Ryan Jones (Captain), Dafydd Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Gareth Delve, Bradley Davies, Ian Evans, Alun-Wyn Jones, Ian Gough, Duncan Jones, Gethin Jenkins, Rhys Thomas, Adam Jones, Matthew Rees, Huw Bennett.

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see also
Dragons block Charvis' Wales call
06 May 08 |  NG Dragons
Wales have an edge - De Villiers
07 May 08 |  Welsh
Botha predicts Wales tour epic
23 Mar 08 |  Welsh
Wales urged to prove 'greatness'
17 Mar 08 |  Welsh
Gatland wants Springboks' scalp
16 Mar 08 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Mighty Boks: South African rugby
07 Nov 07 |  Rugby Union
Wales v South Africa: Full record
28 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
South Africa anthem
13 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
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