Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Warburton named Wales skipper

Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton will become Wales' youngest World Cup captain when he skippers the squad in New Zealand next month.

The 22-year-old Cardiff Blues flanker fills a vacancy created by hooker Matthew Rees' neck injury, with his promotion being confirmed on Monday by Wales coach Warren Gatland.

Gatland's 30-man World Cup squad, announced at the Millennium Stadium, contains one uncapped player - Scarlets hooker Ken Owens - who received an 11th-hour call to replace ankle injury victim Richard Hibbard.

Hibbard was hurt during Saturday's World Cup warm-up victory over Argentina in his comeback match after undergoing summer shoulder surgery. Owens joins fellow squad hookers Huw Bennett and Lloyd Burns.

As expected, there are few surprises in the squad, although 99 times-capped Cardiff Blues flanker Martyn Williams misses out on playing in his fourth World Cup.

Gatland has opted for a split of 16 forwards and 14 backs, with Sale Sharks' Andy Powell gaining one of the back-row slots, while scrum-half prospects Tavis Knoyle and Lloyd Williams also gain opportunities.

Scarlets wing George North, at 19, is the youngest player chosen, with Gatland also selecting two 20-year-olds in Scarlets centre Scott Williams and Newport Gwent Dragons number eight Toby Faletau.

Rees, Hibbard, centre Gavin Henson (wrist) and wing Morgan Stoddart (broken leg) were all unavailable for selection, but prop Gethin Jenkins makes the cut despite ongoing concerns about a calf muscle problem.

Backs: A Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons), L Byrne (Clermont Auvergne), J Davies (Scarlets), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Jones (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets), G North (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne), R Priestland (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys).

Forwards: H Bennett (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), L Burns (Newport Gwent Dragons), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), P James (Ospreys), G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), A Jones (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), C Mitchell (Exeter), K Owens (Scarlets), A Powell (Sale Sharks), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt).

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