CARDIFF (SATSports) – Gareth Anscombe returned to the Wales squad for the first time in an injury-plagued two years as Wayne Pivac named a 38-man squad for their end-of-year internationals on Wednesday.
Ellis Jenkins also returns after injury troubles, while uncapped Exeter forward Christ Tshiunza has won his first call-up at just 19.
Ospreys flyhalf Anscombe has not played international rugby suffering a knee injury in August 2019, and it is almost three years since Cardiff flanker Jenkins last featured.
The comeback theme is continued by Cardiff flyhalf Rhys Priestland, whose 50th and most recent Wales outing was against New Zealand in 2017.
Pivac is without a number of injured players, with the likes of Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi all absent.
Wales’ autumn opener against New Zealand on October 30 falls outside World Rugby’s international window, meaning English Premiership-based players will not be released for that fixture, ruling out Tshiunza, Thomas Young, Louis Rees-Zammit, Nick Tompkins, Dan Biggar, Callum Sheedy and Taulupe Faletau.
Pivac’s men then face South Africa (6 November), Fiji and Australia in November.
“We understand that the opening game against the All Blacks is outside of the international window, but I believe that we all need this game after what has been a particularly difficult time for everyone because of the global pandemic,” said Pivac.
“Injuries in certain positions, particularly at openside, have forced us to look a little bit deeper than we would normally, but what it does mean is that more players have an opportunity to be exposed to this level of rugby.”
Forwards: Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Rhys Carre (Cardiff), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff), WillGriff John (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Will Rowlands (Dragons), Ben Carter (Dragons), Seb Davies (Cardiff), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Thomas Young (Wasps), Taine Basham (Dragons), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Taulupe Faletau (Bath).
Backs: Tomos Williams (Cardiff), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Keiran Hardy (Scarlets), Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland (Cardiff), Dan Biggar (Northampton), Callum Sheedy (Bristol), Johnny Williams (Scarlets), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Willis Halaholo (Cardiff), Ben Thomas (Cardiff), Josh Adams (Cardiff), Owen Lane (Cardiff), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets)