Six Nations 2017: Wales boss Rob Howley should be bold in selection - Dafydd James

Rob Howley
Rob Howley is taking charge of the Wales squad while head coach Warren Gatland prepares for the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour
Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Date: Sunday, 5 February Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Interim Wales boss Rob Howley should be "bolder" in his selection policy for this year's Six Nations, says former international Dafydd James.

Howley names his Six Nations squad on Tuesday, with Wales' opening match in Italy on Sunday, 5 February.

"It would be nice if Rob went away from the status quo and picked players who perform on a weekly basis," Jones said.

"If you're young and good enough, you've got to play. Whoever's playing well needs the opportunity."

Wales in the 2017 Six Nations
Sunday, 4 February, 14:00 GMT: Italy v Wales
Saturday, 11 February, 16:50 GMT: Wales v England
Saturday, 25 February, 14:25 GMT: Scotland v Wales
Friday, 10 March, 20:05 GMT: Wales v Ireland
Saturday, 18 March, 14:45 GMT: France v Wales

Wing Keelan Giles, 18, has impressed for Pro12 leaders Ospreys this season and was called up for Wales' autumn internationals, but did not play.

He was an unused replacement in the narrow win over Japan, but limped out of Ospreys' European Challenge Cup win against Lyon on Saturday.

James says Wasps flanker Thomas Young, 24, could be in contention to be named in the squad.

"I'd like to see him brought in to the squad," James, who won the last of his 48 Wales caps in 2007, told BBC Wales Today.

Thomas Young
Thomas Young featured seven times for Wales U20 during his time with Cardiff Blues

"I'd like to see Rob be a bit bolder in his selection policy and give a couple of the young guys who have excelled throughout the season a chance to play on the big arena.

"I think you need the right blend, whether you put them on the bench and bring them on gradually as the game is evolving."

Cardiff Blues flanker Sam Warburton's six-year spell as Wales captain seems set to end, with Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones taking over the role.

Fitness worries

Howley must decide how to handle the absences of vastly experienced prop Gethin Jenkins and highly regarded number eight Taulupe Faletau.

Jenkins, who plays for Cardiff Blues, is not expected to return until the latter stages of the tournament as he recovers from a calf injury.

Bath's Faletau is being treated for a knee ligament injury, having been largely absent during Wales' autumn campaign for the same reason.

The former Newport Gwent Dragons player is not expected to return until after Wales' tournament starts against Italy in Rome.

Like his fellow British and Irish Lion Jenkins, Ospreys flanker Dan Lydiate is a long-term injury absentee.

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