Alun Wyn Jones will captain Wales during the upcoming Six Nations tournament, with Sam Warburton left to focus on remaining at the top of his game.
Second-row forward Jones steps up in place of flanker Warburton, who faces a tough fight to retain his place among the starting XV under coach Rob Howley.
No player is guaranteed their place in (the) team and we want Sam to be playing his very best rugby.
And Howley admitted that concerns about the form of Warburton, who had led his country for the last six years, were uppermost in his thinking.
He told reporters: “It’s an honour to select Alun Wyn as captain. His vast experience, as a player and a leader will help drive this squad forward and I believe he will flourish in the role.
“Sam has led Wales more times than any other captain and had great success in the role, however, we want him to concentrate on his game and to be the best player he can be.
“We had conversations during and since the autumn with Sam. No player is guaranteed their place in an international team and we want Sam to be playing his very best rugby.”
Wales are priced at 13/2 to claim the Triple Crown and 6/1 to win the Six Nations outright, while they can be backed at 40/1 to pick up the wooden spoon.
Wales Six Nations squad:
Forwards: Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Bath), Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Olly Cracknell (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Thomas Young (Wasps).
Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Aled Davies (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Sam Davies (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Ashton Hewitt (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Steffan Evans (Scarlets), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Scarlets) Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon).