The remarkable Wales XV that won't be at the Rugby World Cup
While Wales head coach Warren Gatland today named an outsized 47-man World Cup training, one couldn’t help but cast one’s mind to the massive names missing from the extended roster.
While some of the following at out through injury, the majority of talent here effectively turned their nose up competing at the sport’s flagship event, either directly or through signing for clubs outside of Wales without the prerequisite Test caps under their belts.
1. Rhys Carre
Warren Gatland determined that the 130kg loosehead was not fit enough to be included in the Rugby World Cup training squad, leading to his exclusion. Carre had been given markers which he failed to hit and Gatland pulled the plug on his involvement to many people’s surprise.
2. Ken Owens
Despite being a key figure for Wales, Owens has been sidelined with an injury that is unlikely to heal in time for him to participate in the Rugby World Cup. He has said he will be available if fit when the tournament comes around, but that feels unlikely.
3. Will Davies-King
Cardiff tighthead Davies-King’s hopes of representing Wales at the World Cup have also been dashed this week by an unfortunate injury that is expected to keep him out of action for the tournament. Could be fit by time the tournament comes around but it long shot for a call-up.
4. Seb Davies
After impressing in 2022 for, Davies’ form pettered out in 2023, and he hasn’t made the 47-man cut.
5. Alun Wyn Jones
The iconic Welsh captain made the shock decision to opt out of the Rugby World Cup selection pool earlier this year, despite still being in the mix for selection despite mediocre form during the Guinness Six Nations. He is but one of several players that called time on their Test careers just months out from France.
6. Cory Hill
Similar to Jones, Cory Hill has decided not to participate in the Rugby World Cup, prioritizing other commitments over international duty. His ability to cover lock and back row would have been hugely useful for Gatland.
7. Justin Tipuric
Seasoned Lions veteran Tipuric also chose to step back from international rugby, opting out of going to France with Warren Gatland’s men. It seems Gatland’s decision to drop the outstanding loose foward during the Six Nations might have backfired badly here for the New Zealander.
8. Ross Moriarty
Despite his significant contributions in the past, Moriarty was another veteran who said no to Gatland. While not a first choice No.8 in recent times there was a good chance he’d have been involved.
9. Rhys Webb
Having worked so hard to make it back into Test rugby earlier this year, Webb too declined the opportunity to go, just 100 days out.
10. Rhys Priestland
Currently out of favour with the national team selectors, the ageing Priestland has been left out of the wider squad.
11. Jonah Holmes
Ineligibility arises for Holmes as he plays for Ealing Trailfinders, which prevents him from being selected. Never quite installed himself in the team during his brief flirtation with international rugby.
12. Joe Hawkins
Maybe the most hard-done by in the circumstances, Hawkins’ recent signing with Exeter Chiefs has automatically ruled him out. The rising star was on an academy contract at Ospreys and felt he couldn’t say no when offered a six figure deal by the Gallagher Premiership side.
13. Owen Watkin
Despite his previous involvement with the national team, Watkin has not been selected for a training squads to date. The likeable Osprey doesn’t look like adding to his 27 caps anytime soon.
14. Keelan Giles
A career blighted by injury at the worst times, Giles is yet to win a cap for Wales despite being one of Welsh rugby’s most deadly and rapid finishers.
15. Rhys Patchell
While more often found at flyhalf, Patchell is another who has had more than his share of injuries down through the years. Now 30, Patchell is a free agent and has been linked with a move to Agen, which won’t help any lingering Test ambitions he might hold.
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