London – Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones will captain Wales in South Africa after coach Warren Gatland named a 32-man squad for next month’s two-Test series with the Springboks after Friday’s Welsh trial match.
Jones, as he did during the British and Irish Lions victorious series in Australia last year, replaces the injured Sam Warburton as captain.
Joining loose forward Warburton in missing the tour through injury are fellow flanker Justin Tipuric, fullback Leigh Halfpenny and flyhalf Rhys Priestland.
There are four uncapped players in New Zealander Gatland’s squad including Bristol-bound back Matthew Morgan, plus the Scarlets trio of wing Jordan Williams, centre Steven Shingler and scrum-half Gareth Davies.
But there was no Wales recall for Gavin Henson, with the Bath back prevented from playing in the trial match after English Premiership clubs refused to release players for a fixture that did not constitute a full Test under International Rugby Board rules.
However, his Bath team-mate Paul James and Northampton wing George North were both included in the tour party.
Of all the players on show in the Probables 55-7 win over the Possibles in the Welsh trial match at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium on Friday, it was Morgan, a second-half substitute for the Possibles, who did most to advance his case with some sublime touches.
The 23-year-old. who can play at either fullback or flyhalf, only learnt of his tour selection when Gatland announced his squad at Friday’s post-match function.
“It hasn’t really sunk in. It is a dream to me at the minute,” said Morgan. “I just wanted to go into the (trial) game and play my rugby, and wherever it takes me, it takes me.
“If I get a chance to play (in South Africa) I am obviously going to do my best, give it 100 percent and see what happens from there.”
But three players who went off injured in the trial – centre Jamie Roberts (shoulder), hooker Ken Owens (knee) and prop Samson Lee (arm) – were included, with Lee’s knock looking the most serious.
Wales, however, do not leave for South Africa until Thursday.
They begin their tour with a June 10 match against the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth, before facing the Springboks in Durban four days later and again in Nelspruit on June 21.
Wales have never beaten South Africa away from home.
Ahead of next year’s World Cup, the tour launches a tough fixture schedule with six of Wales’ next seven Tests against South Africa, who they also play in Cardiff in November, New Zealand, Australia and England.
Wales squad for South Africa:
Back threes: Liam Williams (Scarlets), Matthew Morgan (Ospreys), Jordan Williams (Scarlets), George North (Northampton/ENG), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues)
Centres: Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro/FRA), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Steven Shingler (Scarlets)
Flyhalves: James Hook (Perpignan/FRA), Dan Biggar (Ospreys)
Scrumhalves: Mike Phillips (Racing Metro/FRA), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets)
Loose forwards: Dan Baker (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro/FRA), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets)
Locks: Ian Evans (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Perpignan/FRA), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, capt)
Hookers: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets)
Props: Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath/ENG), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys)
Fixtures (squad departs June 5)
June 10: Eastern Province Kings v Wales XV, Port Elizabeth
June 14: South Africa v Wales, 1st Test, Durban
June 21: South Africa v Wales, 2nd Test, Nelspruit