London - Bath lock Dominic Day and Exeter prop Tomas Francis have both been
included in Wales' 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup announced on Monday.
Day was one of the five second rows included in the squad, with Francis, who
only made his Test debut last weekend, joining fellow props Paul James, Gethin
Jenkins, Samson Lee and Aaron Jarvis.
After the squad was announced by Welsh Rugby Union chairperson Gareth Davies
at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, Gatland revealed first-choice lock Alun Wyn
Jones had suffered a knee strain during Wales's 16-10 warm-up win away to
Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
Jones is now expected to be sidelined for two weeks, placing a question mark
against his availability for Wales' World Cup opener against Uruguay at the
Millennium Stadium on September 20.
"We have ended up going for five second-rows, and really because it is
such an attritional position, and as a result probably Kristian (Dacey) has
been unlucky to miss out at this stage," said Gatland.
"Alun Wyn Jones picked up a little bit of a medial strain on the
weekend, which is a couple of weeks, Luke Charteris got a bang on the leg, so
we have kind of looked at the squad and said that if players pick up knocks
we've got cover for them.
"It's a couple of weeks (for Jones). That engine room is so important
for us. I thought he was outstanding on the weekend."
Among the seven players left out from Gatland's original 38-man training
squad was New Zealand-born fly-half Gareth Anscombe.
Qualified for Wales through his Welsh mother, Anscombe joined Cardiff Blues
from Super Rugby giants Waikato in 2014.
He made his Wales debut in the 35-21 warm-up defeat by Ireland in Cardiff on
August 8 but suffered an ankle injury in training last week.
Gatland has included just two flyhalves in Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland.
"It is incredibly disappointing for those players that miss out,"
"It's hard, but you have got to accept that is the nature of
professional sport and we are entrusted to make what we believe are the right
calls," added the former New Zealand hooker, himself left out of the All
Blacks' 1991 World Cup squad.
Wales will again be captained by Cardiff back-row Sam Warburton, who led his
country to the semi-finals of the 2011 edition in New Zealand - a match where
he was sent off in an agonising 9-8 loss to France.
The Welsh have been drawn in a tough World Cup pool that features main
tournament hosts England and two-time champions Australia, as well as dangerous
As a result, at least one of rugby union's major nations will fail to reach
the quarter-finals, with only two teams from each of the four pools qualifying
for the last eight.
Gatland's men conclude their warm-up programme at home to Italy, thrashed
48-7 by Scotland last weekend, in Cardiff this coming Saturday.
Wales Rugby World Cup squad
Tomas Francis, Paul James, Aaron Jarvis, Gethin Jenkins, Samson Lee, Scott Baldwin, Ken Owens, Jake Ball, Luke Charteris, Dominic Day, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Toby Faletau, James King, Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (captain).
Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Lloyd Williams, Dan Biggar, Matthew Morgan, Rhys Priestland, Cory Allen, Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams, Hallam Amos, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams