Pivac names McNicholl and Halaholo in first Wales squad

Johnny McNichol has been with the Scarlets for three years
Wales v Barbarians
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Sat, 30 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales coach Wayne Pivac has named New Zealand-born backs Johnny McNicholl and Willis Halaholo in his first squad.

The pair qualified on residency to play for Wales in November and are among five uncapped players alongside Taine Basham, Shane Lewis-Hughes and Ashton Hewitt.

Injured captain Alun Wyn Jones is omitted for the uncapped match against Barbarians in Cardiff on 30 November.

The touring team will be coached by Pivac’s predecessor Warren Gatland.

The 35-man squad includes 22 players who featured for Wales at the World Cup in Japan.

However, England-based players Dan Biggar and Rhys Carre are not available because the game falls outside the designated Test window.

As well as Jones, Jonathan Davies, George North, Rhys Patchell, Josh Navidi, Cory Hill, Tomas Francis, Liam Williams and Gareth Anscombe are all injured.

Patchell and Anscombe’s absences resulted in a recall for Dragons Sam Davies, who along with Jarrod Evans is one of two specialist fly-halves in the squad.

There are also recalls for Scarlets props Rob Evans and Samson Lee as well as Dragons prop Leon Brown, who did not make Gatland’s World Cup squad.

Willis Halaholo joined Cardiff Blues from Super Rugby’s Hurricanes in 2016

Blues lock Seb Davies also returns, having been omitted from Wales’ World Cup training camps.

“It is great to get the squad announced and get the ball rolling on our first meet-up and first fixture next week,” said Pivac.

“This Barbarians game is a great chance for us as a new squad and management to get together and to set the scene for what we are looking to do. Having this opportunity ahead of tournament rugby in the Six Nations is ideal for us.

“It is also a great chance for some players to really put their hand up and show what they are about and take to the field in front of a big crowd at home.

“We will be bringing a few additional players in to train with the squad during the week, just to see them in the environment and will also be bringing some of the injured players in for some of the scene setting style sessions.”

Wales squad

Forwards:

Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Leon Brown (Dragons), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Taine Basham (Dragons), Ollie Griffiths (Dragons), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).

Backs:

Aled Davies (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues), Sam Davies (Dragons), Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Willis Halaholo (Cardiff Blues), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues), Steff Evans (Scarlets), Ashton Hewitt (Dragons), Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets).

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