June International Tours

Tom James called up for Oz tour


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Uncapped Cardiff Blues winger Tom James has been called into the Wales squad for the tour of Australia.

James, 20, replaces Harlequins back Hal Luscombe who withdrew from the squad last week in order to return to South Africa for family reasons.

Wales head coach Gareth Jenkins has also been forced to make two late changes to his squad after losing hookers Mefin Davies and Huw Bennett through injury.

Davies suffered a rib injury during Gloucester’s Guinness Premiership final defeat to Leicester while Bennett failed to recover from nerve damage in his neck.

“Huw damaged nerves in his neck three or four weeks ago and medical advice tells us that he needs to undergo a period of rest, preventing further impact to allow the condition to resolve,” said Jenkins.

Cardiff Blues hooker Gareth Williams, who last played for Wales in 2003, and Llanelli’s Matthew Rees join the squad.

“Gareth Williams was put on standby to replace him last week and we have taken the decision to take Gareth on the plane based on medical advice around Huw.

“Gareth has put together a run of decent performances for his region and he will bring a level of experience that will be vital to the squad.

“We have also asked Matthew Rees to join the tour, rather than remain at home for our summer training camp, after losing someone of Mefin’s experience.

“We need to factor in consistency at lineout and scrum on this tour and it will prove vital to have two players who have international experience in that specialist position.

“Tom James is a hot prospect, but we wanted to make sure he came through the weekend’s action before bringing him in.

“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get a chance to see Gavin Henson in action at the weekend, but we are confident he is fit and will be available to us and his issue at the weekend was more of a conditioning one.

“His task now is to get himself 100 per cent right in the time available and show us in training that he is back up to his own high standards.”

Wales fly to Australia on Tuesday and face the Wallabies in two Tests on May 26 and June 2.


365 Digital

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