Pivac names squad to take on All Blacks

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Wales v England - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, Britain - February 27, 2021 Wales head coach Wayne Pivac before the match REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

Wales coach Wayne Pivac has recalled England-based Thomas Young for the Autumn International series, starting with the All Blacks at the end of the month, despite the loose-forward falling short of the 60-cap rule for players based outside of the country.

Pivac received a special exemption for Wasps flanker Young after it was announced today that he would return to Cardiff next season. Exiled players with less than 60 caps are unusually not eligible for selection.

But injuries and a tough schedule that includes matches on successive weekends from Oct. 30 against New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia, has to some extent forced Pivac’s hand.

Young and other England-based players, fellow loose forwards Taulupe Faletau and Christ Tshiunza, flyhalves Dan Biggar and Callum Sheedy, centre Nick Tompkins and wing Louis Rees-Zammit will not be available for the All Blacks match as it falls outside of the international window.

Teenager Tshiunza and prop WillGriff John are two uncapped players in the 38-man squad, while flyhalf Rhys Priestland is back in the mix for the first time since 2017 with New Zealand-born Gareth Anscombe the fourth pivot selected and most likely to start against the All Blacks.

Pivac has also selected eight British & Irish Lions who lost the series to South Africa earlier this year, including stalwart captain Alun Wyn Jones.

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