Wales have now felt the pain of a double blow after scrum-half Rhys Webb has together with Leigh Halfpenny been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup due to a foot injury.
Webb tweeted saying: “Really disappointed to be ruled out of the RWC. After all the hard work I’ve put in over the summer, words can’t describe how I’m feeling.”
The scrum-half has been replaced by veteran Mike Phillips while Ospreys wing Eli Walker is also drafted back into the squad to take Halfpenny’s spot.
The news of Webb’s absence came less than 24 hours after it was confirmed Halfpenny would miss out, and Wales head coach Warren Gatland has wished them both well with their recovery.
“It is extremely disappointing for both Leigh and Rhys,” said Gatland.
“They have worked exceptionally hard to establish themselves on the world stage and to prepare for the tournament, and we wish them all the best with their recovery.
“After announcing the squad we spoke about the need for players to remain ready for action and is a great opportunity for Mike and Eli.
“It’s great that we can call on players of this calibre. To bring Mike’s experience into the squad is a bonus along with Eli’s exciting talent.”
In British and Irish Lion Phillips, they have a ready-made replacement, bringing a wealth of experience to the Welsh squad having played in two previous World Cups during a 94-cap career.
However at fullback, options are limited for Gatland, with the two fullbacks in the squad, Bristol’s Matthew Morgan and Dragons’ Hallam Amos having amassed just seven caps between them.
The men in red will kick off their World Cup campaign against Uruguay on September 20th, before they take on Australia, England and Fiji in their ‘Pool of Death’.