Roberts leading Wales on 2-test rugby tour in June

The list of rookies includes Ospreys wing Keelan Giles, Scarlets speedster Steff Evans and Wasps flanker Thomas Young, in addition to Gloucester-bound Leicester back Owen Williams. It will be two tough games without our Lions, and I can't wait to get stuck in.

With regular captain Alun Wyn Jones in a British and Irish Lions squad led by former Wales skipper Sam Warburton for the combined side's upcoming tour of New Zealand, Wales were on the hunt for a new on-field leader for their internationals against Tonga in Auckland on June 16 and Samoa in Apia a week later.

"It (the captaincy) is a huge honour, not just for me but for my family".

There have been alterations to the backroom staff too, with Wales boss Warren Gatland in charge of a Lions squad where interim coach Rob Howley is one of his assistants.

"And I think a lot of the senior players in the group who maybe haven't had the chance to play in the last couple of years, now have the chance to step up and lead this team".

McBryde's squad is made up of 14 backs and 18 forwards, but there is no global recall for hooker Richard Hibbard.

"We welcome the opportunity to give our players some much-needed Test rugby, as well as a rare opportunity to play the best team in the world", Alama said.

The All Blacks used a similar tactic ahead of the 2005 Lions series when they played Fiji in Albany.

"There is one eye on the future, obviously, whether the next World Cup in 2019 or the World Cup following".

The first Test on June 24 in Auckland will be followed by a second Test in Wellington on July 1 and a third in Auckland on July 8.

"It's great that we've got a chance to play the All Blacks again and this is great for our build-up as well, going into the June-July internationals, which are very important World Cup qualification games for Manu Samoa", he said. "That was quite an experienced side and guys were coming to the end of their careers so this time around we're rebuilding Manu Samoa", he said.

"We've got a good mix of experience and youth in this squad", says McBryde.

  • Julie Sanders