Rugby This is the Wales Rugby World Cup starting XV...

This is the Wales Rugby World Cup starting XV is likely to be Leigh Halfpenny set to miss out


Wales open their bid for World Cup glory against Georgia in 10 weeks time at the City of Toyota Stadium in Japan.

Warren Gatland's have four warm-up fixtures, facing both England and Ireland home, and preparing for their assault on the tournament.

Coach Gatland will already know his starting line-up with Wales having completed a magnificent Six Nations Grand Slam to stretch their record winning streak to 14.

Barring any unwelcome mishaps in those matches, like when Wales lost Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb after the pair were crocked against Italy before the 2015 tournament, will stick with the bulk of the side that comfortably defeated Ireland 25-7 four months ago to clinch the European title.

Gatland has already started Wales will be fully loaded against Georgia because they want to start the World Cup with a bang and the necessity of notching up a bonus point triumph.

Conditions are expected to be hot and humid and it will be important to give his players a run-out, while Wales will be a strong, organized and well-coached Georgia.

Nevertheless, the return of players from injury problems, such as Taulupe Faletau, Cory Hill, Aaron Shingler and Samson Lee, plus Leigh Halfpenny and Nicky Smith having more rugby under their belts, could result in a minor shake-up.

Will and others need to deliver during the preparation games to increase their chances of running out against Georgia on September in Pool D.

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Form, of course, will be a factor, with arch-competitor Dan Biggar hoping to oust Gareth Anscombe from the No.10 jersey and Tomos Williams determined to beat Gareth Davies to the scrum-half berth.

The big question for most is the composition of the Wales back-row in Lions No.8.

Get ticks on both counts and there's every likelihood he'll start because he's quite simply one of the best back-row forwards in the world.

But going to four doesnâ € ™ t go, so either Josh Navidi, Ross Moriarty or Justin Tipuric would miss out.

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Wales' road to the Rugby World Cup

To be in hunch Gatland would switch Moriarty from the rear of the scrum to blind side flanks to accommodate Faletau, with Tipuric remaining on the open side and the versatile Navidi, who is recovering from a horrific elbow dislocation following surgery, being on the bench.

Hill was magnificent – a game changer – from the bench against England in the Six Nations as he capped a sensational effort with a try before suffering a tournament ending ankle injury.

Expecting Gatland to use him in the role again with youngster Adam Beard continues to pack down alongside skipper Alun Wyn Jones in the boilerhouse.

Prop Smith shone during last autumn's tests but a subsequent ankle knock opened the door for Rob Evans to return and reasserted himself to loosehead prop in the Six Nations.

Leigh Halfpenny has had injury problems

The final piece in the jigsaw is the back-three and whether a place will be found for goal-kicking ace Halfpenny.

Liam Williams and Josh Adams starred in the Grand Slam and George North has been in favor of Gatland since emerging as a teenager likely to be again with Halfpenny missing out.


15, Liam Williams; 14, George North, 13, Jonathan Davies, 12, Hadleigh Parkes, 11, Josh Adams; 10, Gareth Anscombe, 9, Gareth Davies; 1, Rob Evans, 2, Ken Owens, 3, Tomas Francis, 4, Adam Beard, 5, Alun Wyn Jones (capt.), 6, Ross Moriarty, 7, Justin Tipuric, 8, Taulupe Faletau.

Subs : 16, Elliot Dee, 17, Nicky Smith, 18, Dillon Lewis, 19, Cory Hill, 20, Josh Navidi, 21, Tomos Williams, 22, Dan Biggar, 23, Owen Watkin.

Wales Rugby Team (s) Warren Gatland (t) Six Nations (t) Rugby World Cup


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