Martyn Williams has been left out of Wales’ RBS 6 Nations squad in a shock omission by head coach Warren Gatland.
The 35-year-old Cardiff Blues flanker, who has won 98 caps and featured on the last three British and Irish Lions tours, misses Gatland’s cut for a tournament that Wales kick off against England in 12 days’ time.
Gatland has opted for youth as his openside options in the form of Williams’ Blues colleague Sam Warburton and Scarlets’ highly-rated Josh Turnbull.
It could signal the end of Williams’ illustrious Test career, which began in 1996 and has seen him move to within two appearances of joining Gareth Thomas as only the second Welsh cap centurion.
Gatland’s 28-man party includes five uncapped players in Turnbull, Scarlets back Rhys Priestland, front-row forwards Ryan Bevington and Scott Andrews, plus back-row prospect Toby Faletau.
Wales squad for the RBS 6 Nations Championship
Backs: L Byrne (Ospreys), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), M Stoddart (Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Ospreys), R Priestland (Scarlets), S Jones (Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys), D Peel (Sale Sharks), T Knoyle (Scarlets).
Forwards: P James (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), C Mitchell (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets, capt), R Hibbard (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Wasps).