Wales’ Preliminary Rugby World Cup Squad

Warren Gatland has named a preliminary 45-man training squad to prepare for the Rugby World Cup this summer.

Gavin Henson is in the mix, along with Gareth Delve of the Melbourne Rebels, but there is no Nicky Robinson or Iestyn Thomas.

What are your thoughts? How far can Wales go in New Zealand?

Forwards: H Bennett (Ospreys), L Burns (Dragons), R Hibbard (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets), S Andrews (Cardiff), R Bevington (Ospreys), P James (Ospreys), G Jenkins (Cardiff), A Jones (Ospreys), C Mitchell (Exeter), J Yapp (Cardiff), L Charteris (Dragons), B Davies (Blues), AW Jones (Ospreys), L Reed (Scarlets), G Delve (Melbourne Rebels), T Faletau (Dragons), R Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Dragons), R McCusker (Scarlets), A Powell (Sale Sharks), J Thomas (Ospreys), J Tipuric (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), S Warburton (Blues), M Williams (Blues).

Backs: T Knoyle (Scarlets), D Peel (Sale), M Phillips (Ospreys), R Rees (Blues), S Jones (Scarlets), R Priestland (Scarlets), J Tovey (Dragons), J Hook (Perpigan), A Bishop (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), G Henson (unattached), J Roberts (Cardiff), G North (Scarlets), A Brew (Dragons), M Stoddart (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys), L Byrne (Clermont Auvergne), L Halfpenny (Cardiff).

20 thoughts on “Wales’ Preliminary Rugby World Cup Squad

  1. Shocking there is no Nicky. He could make a huge difference to our backline.

    But as a half hearted Wasps fan at least I know he’ll be available during the RWC

  2. Gatland has picked a surprisingly youthful squad with all of Wales’ new look side who faced the Barabarians on Saturday making the squad.

    Thankfully there is also a place for Martyn Williams – who played for the Barbarians on Saturday against Wales – as well as fellow back rower nomadic cave man Andy Powell, and the Melbourne Rebel, Gareth Delve.

    More interesting are some of the missing names and the exclusion of Iestyn Thomas, who has had a great season with the Scarlets, is a massive blow to Wales. Thomas was part of the Barbarians front row that beat Wales into submission on Saturday and has over a decade of international experience behind him that could prove invaluable in New Zealand.

    Gatland’s choice of fly halves may be even more controversial picking new comers Rhys Priestland and Jason Tovey ahead of Magners league top points scorer Dan Biggar and new Wasps stand off Nicky Robinson, despite his great season at Gloucester.

    1. No Iestyn makes perfect sense. I like him, he’s a top player, but he

      1) Doesn’t fit into Gatland’s need for athletic props to help at the breakdown
      2) Can’t play both sides.

      Look at the looseheads there.

      Geth – a no brainer, best LH in the world (or close to it)
      Paul James – can play both sides of the scrum, vital as the IRB only has 7 not 8 subs allowed
      John Yapp – can play both sides badly. Don’t want him there but again with only 7 subs it is important. Also far better at rucks than iestyn
      Bevington – never going to make the squad for the RWC, is there for development purposes. A pure athlete of a prop who could well become Geth’s long term successor. Despite troubles in the scrum his side held up pretty well (and vs Haymans of all people).

      If the IRB changed it to 8 on the bench then Iestyn could well jump to #2 loosehead, but until that happens (and with iestyn getting on a bit that is unlikely to happen soon enough), he’ll never make serious Welsh squads

  3. Henson is a liability, desperately trying to showboat his place in the squad, couldn’t even manage that against France’s third or fourth ranked centre.
    Gats needs to see him play to his full potential before the RWC, rather than have a wasted spot.
    Delve has been doing some great work in Australia.
    S. Jones still lifts the team, useful to have him along.
    Robinson in for Henson…

    1. Why? Give Henson a shot at it, we won’t have wasted anyting – we know what Roberts/Davies/Hook bring to the party. Henson at any sort of form would be an asset, and if he isn’t then don’t take him in the 30.

      Tovey could be dropped as we all know he won’t be going to the RWC. He is a future talent and I had hoped he’d break in by now, but he’s been poor this season and this RWC is probably a year too early for him

      1. I’m sorry, but he’s been given the opportunity three times this season and it looks like he’s given up on each one in search of a better one.
        Sadly, he’s not as good as he thinks – he thinks he’s the best player in the world – but he does still have the potential to be up there, just not with his current mindset.
        I wish he would sort his head out, as he really does have that potential, but at the moment, he doesn’t care enough about the rugby.

  4. While James may be more versatile and probably a safer bet when it comes to the RWC but I can’t understand leaving Iestyn out at the expense of John Yapp.

    Choosing a pack purely based on mobility will leave Wales exposed and Gat’s game plan massively back fired on saturday. I think there was something like six scrums in the first five minutes against the Baba’s and Wales had no reply.

    He can’t play both sides but I’d still include Iestyn in the 45 man squad. He’s a powerhouse in the scrum, he’s been putting in the graft around the park this year and got the sort of experience that much of the squad are lacking.

    1. Not just mobility – the bench cover is important. The difference between 7 and 8 subs makes it very difficult to pick a specialist LH.

    2. Forgot to add – if you pick him in the 45 man squad who do you drop? Assuming Yapp is going as he can do both sides that leaves Bevington. Iestyn being in the 45 and not going gains nothing, Bevington being in the 45 and not going gains some much needed exposure to top level rugby that will help his development.

      Given how much of an athlete Bevington is I would bet good money that Gats has an eye into developing him into a Gethin style player

      1. But with Gethin starting at loosehead he could also be cover for the tighthead role. Which would mean you could have a loosehead specialist on the bench.

  5. Biggar’s ommission from the prelimary squad is a surprise given how much Gatland has talked him up. On form he deosnt deserve to make final squad but he is a far better player than Tovey.
    I think that the fact that only seven subs will be allowed had a bearing on the props he selected because you need to have players with experience of playing both sides even if that means picking players who are maybe not the best as subs.

  6. Mike Phillips has just been suspended by the WRU…Cardiff Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams.

    Phillips had to be restrained by police outside a McDonald’s in Cardiff!

    1. apparently he was angry there was a leek in is coke.
      police involvement for a faulty beverage?

      1. Apparently he threw a burger at a member of staff, but as usual with his passing, it looped up in the air and fell three yards short of the target.

        1. wahaha hutch!

          we all love a burger after a night on the sherry.
          Phillips must like them a bit more than the rest of us?

          Does philips know they dont have mcdonalds in Bayonne ? how will he disgrace himself there? can you even rugby pass a baguette?

          hopefully hutch and the TRB boys will shed some light on the matter.

  7. Where is Leigh Halfpenny in all of this, I would have him in there instead of Aled Brew, who in my opinion, is yet to prove himself on the international stage. I would drop Dwayne Peel as Travis Knoyle has a very good pass and is a very intelligent scrum half and Richie Rees has done exceptionally well in a Welsh shirt when he has played. I believe that Tovey and Priestland should be alternated in the Warm up Matches as we have all seen what Stephen and James can do at this level.

    1. Just seen Leigh Halfpenny as Fullback not Wing, apologies for the rant that followed :/

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