Wales v South Africa: Dan Biggar and Liam Williams withdrew from the squad against the Springboks

image source, Huw Evans Photography Agency


Liam Williams has ruled himself out of any part of the 2024 Six Nations after his move to Japan

Dan Biggar and Liam Williams have been dropped from Wales’ squad to face South Africa in the final World Cup warm-up match on Saturday.

Sam Costelow replaces fly half Biggar who has a back spasm, while full-back Williams has a tight hamstring with Cai Evans delivering his first cap.

Tom Rogers has been named as a replacement.

Head coach Warren Gatland will name his 33-man World Cup squad on Monday, August 21.

Wales stressed that the injuries were purely preventative and that Biggar and Williams were not World Cup doubts.

“They’re not serious at all,” Gatland said. “If this was a World Cup semi-final, Dan Biggar would have been fine for the weekend.

“We’re just taking a precautionary measure. There’s no need for us to take any chances with him.”

“Both [Williams and Biggar]if we push them hard, he could play on Saturday, but the decision was made [that] there is no point in taking risks at this stage.

“It’s about dealing with things that are going to be thrown at you. It’s about using a little bit of adversity as a positive.”

Hooker Dewi Lake is in contention to be fit for the World Cup opener against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10 with fullback Taine Plumtree, hooker Ryan Elias and blocker Dafydd Jenkins also targeting that game.

Number eight Taulupe Faletau (calf) and fly half Gareth Anscombe (thumb) are the only two players in the 48-man squad not to play in any of the three warm-up games.

Dragons hooker Bradley Roberts has been called up to train with Wales to provide cover amid injuries to Lake and Eias, who suffered a hamstring injury in the 20-20 World Cup warm-up win. -9 against England in Cardiff in early August.

Roberts’ partner, Dragons hooker Elliot Dee, will start against South Africa with Sam Parry on the replacement bench.

Gatland admitted it was a balancing act on how many players he could select with fitness issues.

“In the past, we have gone to World Cups with players with ailments that will take two or three weeks to correct,” Gatland said.

“That may be the case, but it depends on the type of risk you take.

“Maybe there’s one or two we can take with criticism, that’s probably the number you’re talking about.

“The important thing is when you can return to training. If you look at the draw, you have to go fully charged for the first game, then looking at Portugal with a six-day change, there will be changes.”

“Then you have eight days in Australia where you’ll be a strong team again and then a 13-day turnaround where hopefully everyone will have a chance to recover from the bumps and bruises before they play Georgia.

“There is less pressure in this tournament than in the past, where you had four-day changes when that had a pretty significant impact on the team.

“That’s a discussion we’ll have in terms of risk and how many we can take.”

Gatland insisted that Dragons wing Taine Basham was fit to play against South Africa after recovering from a high tackle by England captain Owen Farrell.

Basham, 23, failed his head injury assessment (HIA) that day, but Gatland had written in his newspaper column that the process had failed because a television was on in the same room. room.

The WRU say Basham is fit to take the bench because no concussion has been confirmed after completing all three stages of World Rugby’s HIA protocol.

“He’s had a full week with us since Monday, he’s passed his HIA 2 and 3, so there’s no problem,” Gatland said.

“He felt good after the game. He felt good when he was on the field. It was an independent doctor who looked at him and said they wanted him to have an HIA.”

An independent judicial committee rescinded Farrell’s dismissal against Wales and cleared him to play a key role for England in the upcoming World Cup.

World Rugby has now appealed against the decision and another hearing will be scheduled.

Gatland would not be drawn to the Farrell controversy after initially criticizing the England fly-half’s tackling technique in his newspaper column.

“I was upfront about the fact that he has to improve his technique a little bit,” Gatland said.

“It’s something we talk about with the players: if you don’t bend your hips, then you’re putting yourself in a situation where you can potentially get a yellow card or a red card.

“I’d like to think that every coach talks about tackling technique and doing those things well. And if you don’t do those things well, then you can potentially put yourself in a position where you can get carded.

“Everybody wants clarity and certainty about all aspects of the game.”

Wales team to face South Africa: C Evans; Cuthbert, Grady, J Williams, Dyer; Costelow, Hardy; Domachowski, Dee, Assiratti, Carter, Rowlands, Lydiate, Morgan (capt), Wainwright.

Replacements: Parry, N Smith, H Thomas, Teddy Williams, Basham, Tomos Williams, Llewellyn, Rogers.

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