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Wales rugby squad LIVE: World Cup announcement reaction as Warren Gatland names 33-man squad

The 33-man squad is set to be unveiled as Wales look to bounce back after a disappointing Six Nations

Michael Jones
Monday 21 August 2023 13:50 BST
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Steve Borthwick left pondering World Cup squad after Wales loss

Warren Gatland prepares to name his 33-man Wales rugby squad for the Rugby World Cup in France. The announcement comes just days after his side suffered a thumping 52-16 warm-up defeat to South Africa in Cardiff.

Jac Morgan looks likely to captain the side having done so in two of their three warm-up games but Wales already have to contend with a host of injuries as they look to bounce back from a disappointing Six Nations performance.

Fly-half Gareth Anscombe, winger Alex Cuthbert and No 8 Taulupe Faletau have not featured in any of the three preparation games. Dan Biggar and Liam Williams also missed the clash with South Africa while there are concerns, too, at hooker after injuries sustained by Dewi Lake and Ryan Elias against England.

Wales reached the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup - held in Japan - losing out to eventual winners South Africa in the semi-finals.

Follow all the updates and reaction below:

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Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake named Wales co-captains for Rugby World Cup

Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake have been named as Wales co-captains for the Rugby World Cup.

The Ospreys forwards will lead a squad that includes recent international newcomers in wing Rio Dyer, centre Mason Grady and prop Corey Domachowski.

But there is no place for scrum-half Kieran Hardy, with Wales head coach Warren Gatland deciding to select just two nines in Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies.

Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake named Wales co-captains for Rugby World Cup

Gatland has chosen a split of 14 backs and 19 forwards for the tournament.

Mike Jones21 August 2023 13:13
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Wales’ Rugby World Cup squad 2023

Forward (19)

Taine Basham – 13 caps

Adam Beard – 47 caps, (2019 RWC)

Elliot Dee – 43 caps, (2019 RWC)

Corey Domachowski – 2 caps

Ryan Elias – 34 caps, (2019 RWC)

Taulupe Faletau – 100 caps, (2011 RWC)

Tomas Francis – 72 caps, (2015 & 2019 RWC)

Dafydd Jenkins – 7 caps

Dewi Lake – 9 caps

Dillon Lewis – 51 caps, (2019 RWC)

Dan Lydiate – 71 caps, (2011 & 2015 RWC)

Jac Morgan – 11 caps

Tommy Reffell – 10 caps

Will Rowlands – 25 caps

Nicky Smith – 44 caps, (2019 RWC)

Gareth Thomas – 22 caps

Henry Thomas – 2 caps

Christ Tshiunza – 7 caps

Aaron Wainwright – 39 caps, (2019 RWC)

Backs (14)

Josh Adams – 50 caps (2019 RWC)

Gareth Anscombe – 35 caps, (2015 RWC)

Dan Biggar – 109 caps, (2015 & 2019 RWC)

Sam Costelow – 4 caps

Gareth Davies – 69 caps, (2015 & 2019 RWC)

Rio Dyer – 9 caps

Mason Grady – 4 caps

Leigh Halfpenny – 100 caps, (2011 & 2019 RWC)

George North – 114 caps, (2011, 2015 & 2019 RWC)

Louis Rees-Zammit – 27 caps

Nick Tompkins – 28 caps

Johnny Williams – 6 caps

Liam Williams – 85 caps, (2015 & 2019 RWC)

Tomos Williams – 48 caps, (2019 RWC)

Mike Jones21 August 2023 13:26
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Wales’ World Cup schedule

Here’s a reminder of Wales’ World Cup fixtures in France:

Pool C

10th September - Fiji in Bordeaux (20:00 BST)

16th September - Portugal in Nice (16:45 BST)

24th September - Australia in Lyon (20:00 BST)

7th October - Georgia in Nantes (14:00 BST)

A possible quarter-final will be in Marseille on the weekend of the 14th/15th October.

Mike Jones21 August 2023 13:22
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Gatland on preparing for Fiji

“We won’t look too far ahead, I think every team is focusing on getting out of their pool and then take it one step at a time,” said Warren Gatland.

“Fiji is a big game, I saw their result against France. France put out a lot of younger players.

“We’re pretty clear on how we want to play against Fiji. We know how dangerous they are and they’ve had five warm-up games before the World Cup so they’re going to be match fit.”

Mike Jones21 August 2023 13:18
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Jac Morgan on the players who have missed out:

“It’s gutting for them, they’ve put a lot of work in over the last few months in the camps. Everyone deserves to be picked, anyone could go.

“You don’t know what could happen someone could get injured and they’ll get a call up. I’ll be speaking to them before long.”

Mike Jones21 August 2023 13:14
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Sam Costelow to cover scrum-half

Scarlets fly-half Sam Costelow is going to be the cover at scrum-half behind Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies.

Warren Gatland explained: “We spoke from the start that the tipping point could have been two nines or two tens. There was no certainty for anyone being selected in the squad.

“Sam Costelow is the back up scrum-half, we’ve taken that risk, other teams have done the same. There’s a pinching point in the squad in terms of numbers. If we get a HIA in one of the games we’ll have to look at that and address it.

“We know we’ve taken a risk but there’s a pinching point somewhere. The nines have been robust and we are confident they will be fine.”

Mike Jones21 August 2023 13:10
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Gatland available for feedback

“We shared some of the calls with the coaches and I’ll be available to talk to all the players today if they want to give me the call,” said Warren Gatland,

“I’ll make contact with the others as well to make sure they are ready.

“Hopefully they go back to their regions in good shape. Players say it’s the best shape they’ve been in, and hopefully they can demonstrate the work they’ve been doing with their regions.

“It’s also about some players experiencing what the next level is about. I know there’s been a huge amount of learning for those players.”

Mike Jones21 August 2023 13:06
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Gatland on Plumtree’s omission

“Taine is really unlucky having picked up that shoulder injury.” said Warren Gatland when asked if the flanker was too injured to feature in the World Cup.

“Looking at the next couple of weeks we looked at the players who can take part in training as we want live sessions.

“He’s drawn the short straw but I told him to be ready.

“We’ve got three genuine sevens. The beauty of this Rugby World Cup is that we do get some breathing space between games. Hopefully it gives us an opportunity to keep players fit.”

Mike Jones21 August 2023 13:02
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Lake on captaining alongside Morgan

“Me and Jac have played together for a long time and roomed together. Our relationship is very good.” said Dewi Lake when asked what it feels like to captain the team with Jac Morgan.

“We are honest with each other. I couldn’t think of anyone better to share this role with.

“Four years ago, we’d have just been happy to play for Wales never mind be co-captains for the tournament. Sometimes things happen quickly.”

Mike Jones21 August 2023 12:58
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Lake and Morgan to be co-captains

Warren Gatland also explained the reasoning behind naming Dewi Lake and Jac Morgan as co-captains for the tournament saying:

“They compliment each other well. Good mates as well. It’s a good opportunity and something I’ve never done before. Both of them have a big future ahead of them.”

Morgan added: "There’s loads of experienced players in the squad. There’s plenty of leaders in the squad who say their opinion and get stuff going.

"Dewi is great as a captain. He captained the U20s when we went to Argentina. When something needs to be said he’ll say it. I’d never have thought this would have happened four years ago. It’s great to be here with Dewi."

Mike Jones21 August 2023 12:54

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