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No decision on Wales’ World Cup squad yet – Mike Forshaw

30 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Wales defence coach Mike Forshaw. Photo David Davies PA Images

Wales defensive coach Mike Forshaw insists no decisions have yet been made regarding World Cup selection and the opportunity remains for younger players to force their way into the reckoning.

With a little under six weeks until Wales’ opening World Cup fixture against Fiji on September 10, Wales will host England in Cardiff next weekend in the first of three pre-World Cup warm-up fixtures, with a trip to Twickenham the following weekend before they face South Africa in Cardiff.

A 48-strong squad has been training in Turkey this week and Forshaw said there were no preconceptions over who might make Warren Gatland’s final 33.

“Selection is always ongoing,” Forshaw said. “When staff are having a cup of tea, there’ll be a chat, ‘He’s looking different, he’s looking really good’. I think when we get to the South Africa week we’ll have to really start thinking about the final 33.

“That will probably be decided around that weekend. In my thoughts, that’s how it will be. ‘Gats’ might say something different but at the moment everybody is in with a chance. That’s the great thing about this squad.

“There could be a lightning bolt from some of these players in these warm-up games where you think ‘Woah, now he’s really in contention’. That’s the exciting thing about picking squads.”

Before Turkey, Wales had a two-week trip to Switzerland as part of their preparations and Forshaw said the longer build-up before the World Cup was helping Wales build stronger bonds as they look to put a poor Six Nations campaign – in which their only win was over Italy – behind them.

“I always thought the Six Nations was going to be a little bit tough. There was going to have to be little pain along the way, but we’ve come into a camp where it’s more Team Wales,” Forshaw said.

“We’ve got these guys together for quite a while and in my eyes it’s like training a club team.

“We’ve got a club team for the next few months and there’s more work we can do with them, combinations to work on and me getting my message across defensively and having more time to practice that.”

Healthy competition

Second row Ben Carter said the looming selection cuts in the squad were creating a healthy competition in the squad at this stage in preparations.

“The training is probably the hardest I’ve ever experienced,” the 22-year-old Dragons player said. “I’m loving it, it’s a real test.

“Everybody wants to be in that team so it creates quite a lot of competition within the squad, driving each other to be better and it’s a good place to be.

“It’s going to be tough to get into that final squad. We’re all working really hard hoping that we can go.”

Wales will face Fiji in Bordeaux in their opening pool match before facing Portugal, Australia and Georgia

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