Lion to lead Wales

Ryan Jones will captain a youthful Wales squad on their summer tour of Canada and the USA. [more]

Lion to lead Wales

Ryan Jones will captain a youthful Wales squad on their summer tour of Canada and the USA.

The Ospreys back row star will look to put the disappointment of missing out on a 2009 Lions spot behind him as he leads a squad coached by two former Lions tourists.

Jones, who impressed as a Lion four years ago, has been retained as his country’s skipper by 2001 Lion and Wales caretaker coach Robin McBryde and 1997 and 2001 Lion and now Wales attack coach Neil Jenkins.

Jones is joined in the squad by fellow 2005 Lions Gareth Cooper and Dwayne Peel and established internationals such as Ian Gough, Dafydd Jones, Mark Jones and James Hook, while Duncan Jones and Chris Czekaj return from long-term injuries.

In-form fly-half Nicky Robinson is also included, as is fellow Blues player Tom James.

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The more experienced members of the squad will be joined by an array of the country’s most-talented prospects, with the likes of Ospreys trio Craig Mitchell, Jonathan Spratt and Gareth Owen all in line for debuts.

Blues wing Richard Mustoe and back row Sam Warburton could also make their international debuts, as could Rob McCusker, Josh Turnbull and Jon Davies of the Scarlets or Dan Lydiate, Lewis Evans and Jason Tovey from the Dragons.

McBryde named a 32-man squad for the North American tour, although that number will definitely be reduced before the squad depart later this month.

Those players selected from the Dragons or the Scarlets will miss out on the tour, allowing them to play for their region in the play-off for the final Heineken Cup spot on May 24 – the same day as the first Test on tour against Canada.

The Dragons and Scarlets are currently battling it out to avoid finishing as the fourth-placed Welsh region in the Magners League, with the fourth-placed side facing a one-off away tie with an Italian side for the 24th Heineken Cup berth.

Players from either the Dragons or the Scarlets will remain on standby, however, and could be called up once their domestic season has come to an end.

"We have a duty to continue with the professionalism, dedication and ruthlessness this Wales squad has shown over the past two seasons on this tour," said McBryde, who made four appearances for the Lions under Graham Henry in Australia eight years ago.

"We have approached the task of selecting the right blend of youth and experience with great pride and with one eye on the future, but a clear focus on the task ahead.

"We are playing two Tests where the opposition will be gunning for us in their own back yard and we have to show the respect we have for this Wales jersey and put in two performances to make the nation proud.

"There is also a real opportunity here for some players to show us what they can do in this environment with youngsters who have shown form at Wales’ Under-21 level and players who have lit up the Principality Premiership as well as at regional level.

"But we also have the Wales captain on tour with us, some exciting talent and a wealth of experience in our back line and a number of players coming back to the international scene with something to prove and, we believe, something important to offer to the future."

Wales tour squad

Forwards: Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Craig Mitchell (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Gareth Williams (Blues), John Yapp (Blues), Eifion Lewis-Roberts (Sale), Bradley Davies (Blues), Ian Gough (Ospreys), Deiniol Jones (Blues), Luke Charteris (Dragons), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), Robin Sowden-Taylor (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt), Lewis Evans (Dragons), Rob McCusker (Scarlets), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Sam Warburton (Blues), Dan Lydiate (Dragons)

Backs: Dwayne Peel (Sale), Gareth Cooper (Gloucester), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Nicky Robinson (Blues), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), James Hook (Ospreys), Jonathan Spratt (Ospreys), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Mark Jones (Scarlets), Richard Mustoe (Blues), Tom James (Blues), Chris Czekaj (Blues), Gareth Owen (Ospreys), Jason Tovey (Dragons)

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