/ Rugby

Rhys Priestland and lock Bradley Davies back in Welsh fold for tour to Japan

Updated: Wednesday, 01 May 2013 14:30 | Comments

Rhys Priestland
Rhys Priestland

Fly-half Rhys Priestland and lock Bradley Davies look set for a return to international rugby when Wales tour Japan next month.

Both players missed this season's entire RBS 6 Nations Championship campaign due to injury, but they were named today in a 32-man training squad by tour head coach Robin McBryde.

The group will be be reduced to 27 players nearer departure. Wales play Japan in Osaka on 8 June, and then in Tokyo seven days later.

The training party features 11 uncapped players, with the announcement coming just 24 hours after British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland selected 15 Welshmen in his squad for this summer's tour to Hong Kong and Australia.

Fly-half Dan Biggar, the only player who started Wales' recent record 30-3 victory over England not to gain Lions selection, joins Priestland in the group as experienced number 10 options for McBryde.

Long-serving internationals Ryan Jones, Matthew Rees and James Hook are all rested, but they will be available to join the Lions in the event of injuries, if required.

Experienced full-back Lee Byrne, meanwhile, was not considered due to his club commitments with Heineken Cup and French Top 14 title-chasing club Clermont Auvergne.

The uncapped contingent includes Ospreys back-row prospect Dan Baker, Cardiff Blues back-row pair Josh Navidi and Andries Pretorius, plus Ospreys centre Dafydd Howells, and there is also a place for London Irish back Steven Shingler.

The tour captain will be announced when McBryde trims his squad.

"We have selected a squad with the right blend of experience and youth, and this is a great opportunity for players to make their mark on the international stage," he said.

"It's a chance for some players to experience the international environment for the first time, but it is also an opportunity for players who have been involved previously to take the next step as we look to develop leaders.

"We are travelling to Japan as RBS 6 Nations Champions and are focussed on the two-Tests that await us there. We will be looking to finish the season on a high." 

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