22 Oct 2008

Wales coach Gatland picks five new faces, appeals to IRB

7:42 am on 22 October 2008

The New Zealand coach of the Welsh rugby team, Warren Gatland, has named five new caps in his 32-man squad for next month's internationals, and is appealing to the International Rugby Board to secure more time with his players.

Gatland and the Welsh Rugby Union are locked in an on-going club-versus-country row with the four national regions over player release ahead of the grand slam winners's games against South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Gatland faces the prospect of having just five days with his squad to prepare for the visit of the world champions visit on November 9th with the regions involved in the final pool round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup the previous week.

Gatland says he'll hear in the next 24 hours whether he'll get the players before next week and is hopeful he will, though he admits he's pretty despondent about the issue.

The Ospreys form the bulk of Wales squad with 13 players, including captain Ryan Jones and centre Gavin Henson.

The newcomers are forwards Eifion Roberts and Andy Powell and backs Leigh Halfpenny, Dan Biggar and Martin Roberts.