THE IRELAND SQUAD wasn’t the only one containing surprise omissions today.
In addition to news that Scotland will fly to New Zealand without Johnnie Beattie, the Wales squad also included one or two shocks, with Martyn Williams, in particular, conspicuous by his absence.
In addition, as suspected, Gavin Henson has been ruled out through injury, with 22-year-old Sam Warburton the surprise choice as captain, in light of Matthew Rees’ absence.
However, in general, the Wales squad is pretty much as expected, with Llanelli Scarlets’ Ken Owens the only uncapped player to make the final cut.
Like Ireland, Wales opted to go with 16 forwards and 14 backs, while Gatland told reporters at a press conference today that Sale Sharks’ Andy Powell narrowly avoided missing out on selection:
“We told Andy Powell before the Argentina game, his game had to be error-free and he needed to take his opportunities, and he delivered. He played his way into the squad.”
Wales start their World Cup campaign on 11 September against South Africa, in a group that also includes Samoa, Namibia and Fiji.
Wales’ 30-man Rugby World Cuo squad:
BACKS: A Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons), L Byrne (Clermont Auvergne), J Davies (Scarlets), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Jones (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets), G North (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne), R Priestland (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys)
FORWARDS: H Bennett (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), L Burns (Newport Gwent Dragons), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), P James (Ospreys), G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), A Jones (Ospreys), AW Jones (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), C Mitchell (Exeter), K Owens (Scarlets), A Powell (Sale Sharks), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt)