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Friday 15 November 2019

Hill gets the nod despite injury woe

Wales head coach Warren Gatland
Wales head coach Warren Gatland

Cory Hill has been named in Wales' 31-man World Cup squad despite suffering from a leg fracture.

Dragons lock Hill, who captained his country in two Tests against Argentina last year, could be unavailable until halfway through Wales' pool schedule. He has not played since February.

But Wales head coach Warren Gatland (below) has selected him for Japan, while fly-half Rhys Patchell also features following his try-scoring exploits against Ireland on Saturday.

Two of the more surprising omissions were props Rob Evans and Samson Lee.

Squad members learnt of selection via a video produced by the Welsh Rugby Union when each player was told by a member of their community club that they had been chosen.

It will be lock Alun Wyn Jones' fourth World Cup, with wing George North and hooker Ken Owens featuring in the tournament for a third time.

There are call-ups for Saracens prop Rhys Carre, who made his Test debut against Ireland, and Scarlets flanker James Davies.

Gatland has opted for a split of 13 backs and 18 forwards, which includes three centres, two fly-halves and five props.

Other players to miss out include Owen Lane, Jonah Holmes, Scott Williams, Jarrod Evans and Bradley Davies.

Gatland and his coaches applied the final selection touches during a three-hour meeting on Saturday night, with around half a dozen places believed to be at the centre of their debate.

Wales' opening World Cup game is against Georgia in Toyota City on September 23, followed by Australia in Tokyo six days later.

The tournament will be Gatland's farewell from a role he has filled since 2008, during which time Wales have won four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams and reached a World Cup semi-final.

The squad contains a combined cap total of 1,064.

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