SIX Dragons have been named in the Wales squad for the Six Nations – with tighthead Leon Brown getting the chance to hit an important milestone.

Warren Gatland has named a 34-strong group for the tournament, which gets under way with a home fixture against Scotland on Saturday, February 3, with Exeter forward Dafydd Jenkins picked as captain.

The head coach is without Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit after the bombshell announcement that he is leaving rugby to try and make it in NFL.

Gatland has picked hooker Elliot Dee, prop Brown, back row forwards Aaron Wainwright and Taine Basham, wing Rio Dyer and full-back/fly-half Cai Evans.

Legendary blindside Dan Lydiate, 36, misses out after being a fringe figure at the World Cup.

Tighthead Brown was dropped from the 23 for the Dragons’ defeat in Parma but could return to face the hefty South Africans, and potentially World Cup winner Ox Nche, this weekend.

The injury-hit prop, who missed the uncapped November fixture against the Barbarians because of a calf strain, has been linked with a move to Bristol and needs two more caps to hit the 25 required to remain eligible for Test rugby should he leave Wales.

Keiron Assiratti and uncapped Bath prop Archie Griffin are the other contenders for the 3 jersey.

South Wales Argus:  SELECTED: Dragons hooker Elliot Dee is in the Wales squad for the Six Nations SELECTED: Dragons hooker Elliot Dee is in the Wales squad for the Six Nations (Image: Press Association)

Dee is poised to make his return for the Dragons when they hunt qualification for the knockout stages against the Sharks in Newport on Sunday.

The hooker has been out of action since facing Oyonnax on December 9 because of a rib injury and was given an extra week of recovery last weekend when he could have been included against Zebre Parma.

He will battle with the Scarlets’ Ryan Elias and uncapped Cardiff hooker Evan Lloyd for action in the Principality Stadium opener.

Wainwright is a shoo-in for the clash against the Scots in Cardiff, probably at number eight in the absence of Taulupe Faletau, while Dyer is battling with Josh Adams and Tom Rogers for a start in the shock absence of Rees-Zammit.

Basham is another who has missed out for the Dragons recently after a red card against Leinster then an under-par display at Cardiff on Boxing Day.

The dynamic flanker, who has also been linked with English clubs and the Scarlets, will battle with Tommy Reffell, recalled James Botham, Wainwright and the uncapped Cardiff duo of Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin.

Evans has been playing as a full-back for the Dragons but is also covering fly-half and is listed along with the 10s by Wales next to Sam Costelow and Ioan Lloyd.

Gatland said: “I’m really excited about those youngsters and that opportunity to develop them over the next four years.

"The average age of the squad is about 25 compared to a little bit older during RWC and then you look at this next cycle and you want to get those players to mid to late 20s in terms of experience and age.

“What I’ve learned in the past is that even though we’ve done all that hard work in terms of preparation and build up to the RWC.

"For me it’s about going back the start a little bit, going back to honing the basics and hammering away at that and almost like starting again. You have to reset in terms of our goals and what we want to achieve."

South Wales Argus: CAPTAIN: Wales forward Dafydd JenkinsCAPTAIN: Wales forward Dafydd Jenkins (Image: Press Association)


Forwards (19)

Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 6 caps)

Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets – 1 cap)

Gareth Thomas (Ospreys / Gweilch – 26 caps)

Elliot Dee (Dragons / Dreigiau – 46 caps)

Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 38 caps)

Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped / heb gap)

Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 2 caps)

Leon Brown (Dragons / Dreigiau – 23 caps)

Archie Griffin (Bath Rugby – uncapped / heb gap)

Adam Beard (Ospreys / Gweilch – 51 caps)

Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 12 caps)

Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 29 caps)

Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 1 cap)

Taine Basham (Dragons / Dreigiau – 16 caps)

James Botham (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 9 caps)

Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)

Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)

Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers / Caerlŷr – 13 caps)

Aaron Wainwright (Dragons / Dreigiau – 43 caps)

Backs (15)

Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 74 caps)

Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 18 caps)

Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 53 caps)

Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 8 caps)

Cai Evans (Dragons / Dreigiau – 1 cap)

Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 2 caps)

Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 6 caps)

George North (Ospreys / Gweilch – 118 caps)

Joe Roberts (Scarlets – 1 cap)

Nick Tompkins (Saracens / Saraseniaid – 32 caps)

Owen Watkin (Ospreys / Gweilch – 36 caps)

Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 53 caps)

Rio Dyer (Dragons / Dreigiau – 14 caps)

Tom Rogers (Scarlets – 3 caps)

Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)