With a massive summer schedule ahead for Wales, Warren Gatland has announced a 35-man touring party containing a wealth of experience.
Speculation has largely centred around the possible inclusion of either Scarlets’ James Davies or Blues’ Ellis Jenkins to replace the injured Justin Tipuric. Both, however, have been excluded as Gatland and his selectors look to international experience for what will undoubtedly be a gruelling few weeks.
It’s a real shame Tipuric will not tour through injury. In big games like these, he has produced some pure magic in the past. The 30-3 victory over England in Cardiff in 2013 springs to mind: he can play like a forward or amongst the backs, has superb footwork, has a work-rate second to none, and just has that sort of flair about him that can bamboozle opponents. His support play is immense.
Josh Turnbull and Ross Moriarty will be on the plane to New Zealand as back-up for captain Sam Warburton – both of whom I rate highly. I’m running out of hyperbole to describe Turnbull’s performances for Cardiff Blues. He quite simply puts his body on the line week in, week out. A true work horse, his work on the pitch speaks for itself. His versatility means he is a great choice for this touring party.
Moriarty has an aggressive edge that I feel could really benefit the squad in the hostile environments New Zealand will provide. His display against Italy showed such composure and confidence – he was playing with a smile on his face. Like Turnbull, I hope to see a lot more of him in international colours over the summer, and indeed for years to come.
For Warren Gatland’s overview of the squad selection, click here: