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Wales cut trio from squad

Wales Cut Trio

Wales scratch Richard Hibbard, James Hook and Mike Phillips from World Cup plans.

Experienced British and Irish Lions trio Richard Hibbard, James Hook and Mike Phillips were among eight players sent home by Warren Gatland as he continues to reduce numbers in his training squad

They are joined by less qualified players Nicky Smith, Rory Thornton, Dan Baker, Rhys Patchell and Jack Dixon, who also had their tournament possibilities sunk.

“It’s been a difficult task reducing the squad down and deciding who will meet up with us again on Monday,” Gatland revealed.

“All the players involved over the past eight weeks have put a huge amount of effort in. The intensity and dedication from the players out in Switzerland and Qatar has been really impressive.

That makes our job a lot harder but as we continue to move into our rugby focused phase of training its important we reduce the squad number down.

“There will be disappointment from the players, but it’s important to stress that the door is not closed. We name our final Rugby World Cup squad on August 31, and a lot can happen between now and then.

“As a squad we will now meet up again on Monday to continuing preparing for Ireland away which is just over a fortnight away.”

Hibbard’s release is the most surprising considering he was in the Lions team in Australia just two years ago with many believing the hooker still has something to offer.

Hook and Phillips failed to impress enough to keep their places after poor performances in Wales’ opening warm-up match a defeat to Ireland last Saturday at the Millennium Stadium

Phillips, who is now 32, is fourth in the pecking order behind Rhy Webb, Gareth Davies and Llyod Williams. Following 94 caps for Wales, this means it is highly probably we have seen him play his last Test in a red shirt.

Gatland has now cut his group down to 38 players with 31 places available in his final World Cup squad.

Wales play two remaining warm-up matches, against Ireland in Dublin on 29 August and Italy in Cardiff on 5 September.

They then kick off their World Cup on September 20th against Uruguay before more strenuous matches with England, Fiji and Australia in what is a difficult looking Pool A.

Revised Wales squad

Props: Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Paul James (Ospreys), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets).

Hookers: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets).

Locks: Jake Ball (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing 92), Dominic Day (Bath), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys).

Back-rows: Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt).

Scrum-halves: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues).

Fly-halves: Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Matthew Morgan (Bristol), Rhys Priestland (Bath).

Centres: Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Scott Williams (Scarlets).

Wings: Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Eli Walker (Ospreys).

Full-backs: Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Liam Williams (Scarlets).