Wales announce 54-player World Cup training squad

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Former England prop Henry Thomas has been selected in Wales’ 54-player World Cup training squad.

Former England prop Henry Thomas has been selected in Wales’ 54-player World Cup training squad.

Thomas won seven caps for England between 2013 and 2014 but is one of ten players in the squad yet to feature for Wales.

The tighthead qualifies to represent Wales through his father and is eligible under World Rugby regulations having last played for England more than three years ago.

The other uncapped players in the squad are Keiran Williams, Cai Evans, Max Llewellyn, Joe Roberts, Corey Domachowski, Kemsley Mathias, Keiron Assiratti, Teddy Williams and Will Davies-King.

Warren Gatland said: “We’ve picked a large squad for a number of reasons.

“We will reduce the squad to about 45 before we go to Switzerland so there’s a bit of jeopardy in the first part of the campaign.

“It’s a great opportunity for some players that were involved in the Six Nations and some youngsters for the future to show us what they are capable of doing in the first part of the preparation.

“In the past we’ve prided ourselves on how hard we’ve worked and how fit the squad has been. So that’s the message to the players to come in and make a statement, work really hard, make the coaches sit up and take notice and get yourself in great shape physically.

“A lot of skill work needs to be done and there’s an opportunity to work on the detail you often don’t get when you go into Six Nations or autumn campaigns when you have limited preparation time.”

There is no place in the squad for centre Joe Hawkins.

The young star has been left out of Warren Gatland’s squad following his move from Ospreys to Exeter Chiefs.

Wyn Jones, Bradley Roberts and Rhys Patchell are the other notable omissions having featured during the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.

However, Taine Basham, Elliot Dee, Dan Lydiate, Dewi Lake and Johnny Williams all return having recovered from injury.

Locks Cory Hill and Will Rowlands are recalled, as are Gareth Davies, Sam Costelow and Nicky Smith.

Wales’ preliminary Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards: Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby), Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby), Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Dewi Lake (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby), Will Davies-King (Cardiff Rugby), Tomas Francis (Ospreys), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby), Henry Thomas (Montpellier), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Ben Carter (Dragons), Rhys Davies (Ospreys), Cory Hill (Yokohama Canon Eagles), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Will Rowlands (Dragons), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs), Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby), Taine Basham (Dragons) Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Josh Macleod (Scarlets), Jac Morgan (Ospreys), Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).

Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby), Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), Dan Biggar (Toulon), Sam Costelow (Scarlets), Owen Williams (Ospreys), Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby), Max Llewellyn (Cardiff Rugby), George North (Ospreys), Joe Roberts (Scarlets), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Johnny Williams (Scarlets), Keiran Williams (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby), Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys), Rio Dyer (Dragons), Cai Evans (Ospreys), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Rogers (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Cardiff Rugby).