Berliner Tageblatt - Rugby league convert Regan Grace gets Wales call-up for Australia tour

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Rugby league convert Regan Grace gets Wales call-up for Australia tour
Rugby league convert Regan Grace gets Wales call-up for Australia tour / Photo: © AFP/File

Rugby league convert Regan Grace gets Wales call-up for Australia tour

Wales coach Warren Gatland on Monday named former rugby league star Regan Grace in his injury-hit 34-man squad for a rugby union tour of Australia.

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Gatland's men will play two Tests against the Wallabies next month, in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as a fixture against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

Three uncapped players have been named in the squad -- hooker Efan Daniel plus wingers Grace and Josh Hathaway.

Grace, 27, is a former rugby league player who switched codes in 2022 but he has been hampered by serious injuries since.

Absences have hit Gatland's plans. Wing Keelan Giles, hooker Elliot Dee and flanker Jac Morgan were ruled out before Saturday's Twickenham clash against South Africa, which the Springboks won 41-13.

And Gatland has now lost tighthead props Keiron Assiratti and Henry Thomas. Assiratti suffered a back problem during the Springboks encounter and Thomas missed the game because of a foot injury after originally being selected to start.

Hooker Dewi Lake has been chosen for the captain's role ahead of Six Nations skipper Dafydd Jenkins, who was among a sizeable contingent of England-based players unavailable to face world champions South Africa as that fixture fell outside World Rugby's summer Test window.

"I'm excited about this Wales squad," said Gatland, whose side have lost their past seven Tests. "We know Australia is a tough place to go and play rugby, but we are relishing the challenge.

"We are focusing on getting better as a group. This is a young squad that's still learning at this level.

"There are lots of positives and good things that we can build on from the weekend and there are also areas that we will be working hard to address over the next few weeks."

Wales face Australia in Sydney on July 6, with the second Test a week later in Melbourne.

It will be their first tour to Australia for 12 years and they have not beaten the Wallabies Down Under since 1969, losing 11 successive Tests.

Wales squad for Australia tour:

Backs (15)

Ellis Bevan, Gareth Davies, Kieran Hardy, Sam Costelow, Mason Grady, Eddie James, Ben Thomas, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, Rio Dyer, Regan Grace, Josh Hathaway, Liam Williams, Jacob Beetham, Cameron Winnett

Forwards (19)

Corey Domachowski, Kemsley Mathias, Gareth Thomas, Efan Daniel, Dewi Lake, Evan Lloyd, Archie Griffin, Dillon Lewis, Harri O'Connor, Ben Carter, Cory Hill, Dafydd Jenkins, Matthew Screech, Christ Tshiunza, James Botham, Mackenzie Martin, Taine Plumtree, Tommy Reffell, Aaron Wainwright

Coach: Warren Gatland (NZL)

H.Seidel--BTB