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Warren Gatland selects his final Wales World Cup squad, going for a combined 1,067 caps-worth of experience and gambling on injured lock Cory Hill

Lock Cory Hill has been selected as well, despite having a fractured legThe 31-man squad has a combined experience of over 1,000 matches Warren Gatland has selected his final Wales squad for the Rugby World Cup Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will be going to his fourth World Cup tournament

Warren Gatland has taken a World Cup gamble by picking injured lock Cory Hill in his final squad for Japan.

The 27-year-old has a fractured leg, and will not be fit until either the Australia or Fiji matches at the tournament.

But after a three-hour selection meeting late last night after the 22-17 defeat to Ireland Gatland has picked Hill as one of four locks alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones – who will be going to his fourth World Cup – Adam Beard, and Jake Ball.

Warren Gatland selects his final Wales World Cup squad, going for a combined 1,067 caps-worth of experience and gambling on injured lock Cory Hill

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will be going to his fourth World Cup as part of the final squad

Warren Gatland has selected his final Wales squad, which combines youth with experience

He has taken a gamble on Wales lock Cory Hill, who is out of action with a fractured leg

While Hill is in the notable absentees are props Samson Lee and Rob Evans, as 21-year-old Rhys Carré and Dillon Lewis are preferred.

Rhys Patchell beat Jarrod Evans to the back-up No 10 role – he will go alongside Dan Biggar as one of just two fly-halves.

Gatland has named 18 forwards and 13 backs, with six back-rowers; Ross Moriarty, James Davies, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright.

Owen Watkin is the third centre alongside Jonathan Davies and Hadleigh Parkes, with Scott Williams missing out.

And in the back-three Josh Adams, George North, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny are joined by Hallam Amos – with Steff Evans, Jonah Holmes and Owen Lane, who scored on his debut against Ireland, all out.

Rhys Patchell beat Jarrod Evans to the back-up No 10 role as one of only two fly-halves

Gatland will be coaching Wales at a third World Cup – and he thinks this is the best group he has assembled.

‘I think it’s the best squad in terms of the depth we’ve got,’ said the head coach who has picked a squad with 1,067 caps-worth of experience.

‘We’ve got an excellent loose forward group to pick from, some real leadership and experience.

‘We have some nines that are continuing to develop.

‘If we do pick up a few injuries like we did in 2015, I think we’d be able to cope so much better now.

‘The expectation from ourselves is that we’ll be very disappointed if we don’t make the quarter-finals and that’s step one.

Gatland has named 18 forwards and 13 backs with Ross Moriarty as one of six back-rowers

‘Then you take every game as it comes.

‘Selection is always the toughest part of the job and that is especially true come RWC time.

‘Reducing the squad down to 31 has been extremely hard especially when you look at the depth we have created and the amount of the work the training squad have put in, for some, 14 weeks of training.

‘We are really happy with the final 31, we feel there is an excellent blend to the squad, in terms of talent, experience and age profile and we are all incredibly excited about heading to Japan and what lies ahead.

‘These players have performed and delivered for Wales and deserve the opportunity to represent their nation at the game’s showpiece tournament.’


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