Gatland names Wales training squad

Published: Monday 1st June 2015 by The News Editor

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named nine uncapped players in a 47-man training squad for the Rugby World Cup.

The group of newcomers includes Gloucester back-row forward Ross Moriarty, Bath lock Dominic Day and Exeter prop Tomas Francis, plus young Newport Gwent Dragons backs Tyler Morgan and Jack Dixon.

The squad will report for conditioning training on June 15, while training camps next month include trips to Switzerland and Qatar.

More than a third of Gatland’s squad have previous World Cup experience, with the group also including all 12 players on national dual contracts. There are 22 backs and 25 forwards selected.

Apart from extensive training, Wales’ World Cup countdown also features warm-up Tests against Ireland (home and away) in August, plus Italy on September 5. Gatland’s final 31-man squad for the tournament is set to be announced on August 31.

Moriarty, an England Under-20 international whose father Paul and uncle Richard both played for Wales, has been rewarded for impressive form with Gloucester this term, while Day has also produced the goods for Bath as part of a squad that reached this season’s Aviva Premiership final.

Day will be joined in the second-row department by Wales Under-20 captain Rory Thornton, with the Cardiff Blues forward reporting for senior squad duty once his current Junior World Cup commitments are over.

Morgan and Dixon apart, the uncapped backs are Blues’ Gareth Anscombe and Ospreys wing Eli Walker, and there is also a recall for wing Tom James, who is set to rejoin the Blues from Exeter.

Northampton star George North, who has not played since late March after being concussed, is also in the squad alongside fellow British and Irish Lions like Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts and Wales captain Sam Warburton.

“As a coaching team we are extremely happy with the blend of the squad in terms of the experience we are able to include, as well as the young talent that has really impressed us,” Gatland said.

“The easy part for the players has been done in terms of being selected. The hard work will begin from day one with a huge schedule of preparation ahead of them.

“The players will face a tough couple of months of intensive training. We will be taking them to Switzerland, Qatar and Poland, and I can assure everyone they are no holiday camps.

“We put a lot of emphasis on conditioning and preparation in 2011, which worked well for us, and we are looking to step that up again this time.

“The 47 players all have the opportunity to make that 31-man party and I’m sure they will all be eager to feature in a World Cup on these shores.

“We believe the longer we are together the better we perform, and this summer of preparation will give us every opportunity to be at our best come Rugby World Cup.”

Wales are drawn in the same World Cup pool as hosts England, twice-winners Australia, Fiji and Uruguay. Their opening game is against Uruguay in Cardiff on September 20.

Published: Monday 1st June 2015 by The News Editor

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