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Another World Cup headache for Warren Gatland

SQUAD UPDATE: Wales’ World Cup training squad have lost another player.

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Having named a 54-strong panel on May 1, the Wales head coach Warren Gatland has had to cope with a series of Test rugby retirements in recent weeks with Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones and Rhys Webb all opting out from the preparations for the upcoming finals in France.

The resources at Gatland’s disposal, though, have now decreased to 50 with a decision taken to cut loose Rhys Carre for failure to meet individual performance targets.

A WRU statement about the Cardiff prop read: “Rhys Carre has been released from the Wales senior men’s preliminary training squad for Rugby World Cup 2023.

“Following ongoing discussions between the player and the Wales coaching team, Carre has failed to meet individual performance targets set at the end of the 2023 Six Nations.”

The 20-cap loosehead was part of the 2019 Wales squad that reached the semi-finals in Japan. He played three times off the bench in the 2023 Six Nations, most recently in the February home loss to England, but he has now been excluded as a contender for the 33-strong squad that Gatland will eventually take with him to France.

It isn’t the first time that Carre’s conditioning has been an issue with Wales. Last November, during the last block of games with Wayne Pivac as the head coach, it was alleged that the front-row had fallen short in his general conditioning despite impressing for Cardiff.

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Having been recalled to the set-up by Gatland when the change of head coach took place, Carre was one of 10 props named at the start of May for World Cup training.

Those preparations will see Wales play three matches in August – versus England (twice) and South Africa) – before they head across the Channel for a pool schedule that begins with the September 10 clash with Fiji in Bordeaux.

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