After a great victory over Ireland on the weekend, Warren Gatland has finalised his World Cup squad ahead of Wales’ final warm up game, a clash with Italy in Cardiff on 5th September.
There aren’t too many surprises to be found in the 31 man squad, although there are a number of talking points: perhaps most notably the inclusion of only two hookers – current first-choice Scott Baldwin and the dynamic Ken Owens. With Richard Hibbard having lost out on selection despite his test-match pedigree, I was hoping to see Kristian Dacey feature. With his breakdown work and great support play, ex wing-forward Dacey did nothing to harm his chances of selection when he came off the bench against Ireland on 8th August. He certainly knows his way to the try-line too, having crossed the whitewash five times for Cardiff Blues in the 2014-15 season.
The inclusion of the versatile Matthew Morgan is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Morgan has bags of flair and could run riot if he’s deployed at full back for the Uruguay game. With question marks remaining over the fitness of Liam Williams, Wales need a playmaker like Morgan, although his limited test experience means he will be a target should he appear against Australia or England.
Here is the squad in its entirety:
Props: Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Paul James (Ospreys), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Samson Lee (Scarlets).
Hookers: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets).
Locks: Jake Ball (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing 92), Dominic Day (Bath), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys).
Back-rows: Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt).
Scrum-halves: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues).
Fly-halves: Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Matthew Morgan (Bristol), Rhys Priestland (Bath).
Centres: Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Scott Williams (Scarlets).
Wings: Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints).
Full-backs: Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Liam Williams (Scarlets).