Rugby World Cup 2019: Coach Warren Gatland declares Wales squad 'good enough to win'

Wales coach Warren Gatland is talking up his side's chances of winning a first Rugby World Cup.

The former All Black has named his 31-man squad for the tournament - a squad Gatland believes is the best Welsh Dragons side to play at the tournament.

"I think it's [a squad] good enough to win the World Cup," Gatland said. "We've created a depth in this squad and we've left out some real quality players.

"In the past, you may have been happy with 24 and others making up the numbers, but this time, we've left out some class players."

Wales spent two weeks at the top of the world rugby rankings, but a 22-17 loss to Ireland on Sunday has dropped them to fourth. 

Gatland included injured lock Corey Hill, despite not playing for the side since February.

Gatland took a risk by naming Hill as one of four second-rowers - alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones, Jake Ball and Adam Beard - even though the 27-year-old has yet to prove his match fitness, after fracturing his leg.

He won't be available at least until their second Pool D game against Australia on September 29, but Gatland has also picked back-rower Aaron Shingler to cover the lock position.

Five props were selected - one fewer than expected - in Nicky Smith, Wyn Jones, Rhys Carre, Tomas Francis and Dillon Lewis, with only two specialist tightheads.

"Our original thinking was six props, but we've gone with five," Gatland said. "There always has to be a compromise in the squad. 

"We'll be doing some work with Wyn Jones in terms of covering that tighthead position."

Carre only made his international debut against Ireland in Saturday's 22-17 defeat at Cardiff, but he was selected ahead of the more experienced Rob Evans and Samson Lee.

Wales have opted for six back-row players in James Davies, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Shingler, Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright to complete his pack.

Gareth Davies, Aled Davies and Tomos Williams will contest the scrumhalf position, with Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell the first-fives.

Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes and Owen Watkin feature as the centres, with Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Leigh Halfpenny, George North and Liam Williams included as the back-three selections.

Wales are in Pool D at the World Cup and open their campaign against Georgia in Toyota City on September 23. They will also face Fiji and Uruguay.

Wales Rugby World Cup squad 

Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Rhys Carre, James Davies, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Ken Owens, Aaron Shingler, Nicky Smith, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Backs: Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Dan Biggar, Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin, Liam Williams, Tomos Williams.


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