Taine Plumtree still in hunt for Wales World Cup place despite shoulder injury
Wales back-row forward Taine Plumtree has been told he does not require shoulder surgery after being injured against England and remains in World Cup selection contention.
Wales assistant coach Jonathan Thomas has confirmed that Plumtree faces a period of rehabilitation, but he will not go under the knife.
Head coach Warren Gatland will name his 33-strong World Cup squad next Monday, and Thomas said: “Taine has not been ruled out of the World Cup. He doesn’t need surgery, so he is still available.
“There is a process he will need to go through in terms of rehab, but he has not been ruled out of contention for selection for the World Cup.
“Sometimes you need surgery and it rules you out for a long period of time, so I guess that is a positive in that respect.”
Hooker Dewi Lake, meanwhile, also made an early exit at Twickenham due to a knee issue, and Thomas added: “Dewi is under further review.
“The medical team wanted to chase that up, so there is no update on him at this time.”
Wales’ final preparation fixture sees them face world champions South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday, with Gatland’s World Cup squad being announced less than 48 hours later.
The Springboks clash will be a final opportunity for some players to impress before the waiting game reaches its conclusion.
“‘Gats’ has publicly said on the weekend there will be some opportunities for guys and maybe a last chance for some of them,” Thomas said.
“It is particularly tough on those guys who are going to miss out next week, it really is.
“I’ve been part of World Cups, but also missed out on World Cups, so I know as well as anyone how tough it is going to be for those guys, but at the same time you’ve got to make tough calls, haven’t you?
“The squad are very much focused on South Africa and living in the moment.
“While all those moments about selection you are thinking about while you are driving home or sitting in your hotel room, above the surface, in camp or on the training field there is no talk of that.
“It’s 23 players working as one. The reality is that individuals shine when they are part of a collective in team sport.
“If we play well as a team and get a win on the weekend it is going to hopefully project those individuals more.
“The last 13 or 14 weeks have all been about the higher purpose and one-team mentality, and that has not wavered this week. That says a lot about this group.”
South Africa have selected a strong line-up to meet Wales, including a return for fit-again captain Siya Kolisi, while the likes of wing Cheslin Kolbe, centre Damian de Allende, hooker Malcolm Marx and flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit also start.
“We want a fully-loaded South Africa, we want to be tested. We are excited about that,” Thomas said.
“You know what you are going to get with South Africa, and I mean that in a respectful way.
“They are a really physical team and they are a champion team, being winners of the last World Cup. Having said that, our home form in recent years has been quite good against them.
“You know what is coming with South Africa – big, direct carries, scrum, maul and they are a big physical team. You need those tests to set you up for what’s coming in the World Cup.”
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