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It has been an 'annus horribilis' for Wales. The season began with a loss to Georgia at home for the first time in their history. After a series of poor results, the WRU had seen enough and they pulled the plug on Wayne Pivac as Head Coach. With just under a year until the World Cup, the WRU had no option but to replace Pivac with the man that knows Wales best, Warren Gatland. However, the problems did not stop there. The WRU was then hit by a BBC investigation with allegations of sexism and discrimination which ultimately resulted in the resignation of the CEO on the 29th January. Two weeks later it went from bad to worse. The Welsh players were threatening to strike for the match against England due to concerns about new contracts. Many players were being made to take significant pay cuts if they were lucky, and no contract at all if they were unlucky. On the field it wasn't much better with a fifth placed finish in the Six Nations. 

The situation looked like it was beginning to cool. Gatland had plenty of experience with Wales having previously coached them for twelve years at three World Cups. Despite the limited playing pool, the honorary Welshman always managed to get the most out of his side with a  focus on big carrying centres. However his depth of talent was about to become shallower. Having named his World Cup training squad some of his stalwart players began to pull out one by one. First it was Justin Tipuric with 93 caps. Later that day he was followed by former captain and the most capped international of all time, Alun Wyn Jones. Two key leadership figures and a combined total of 264 caps were just gone. Then 40 capped Rhys Webb and 91 capped Ken Owens ruled themselves out of selection. Gatland's entire leadership team had been wiped out with just Dan Biggar remaining.

Wales have mixed chances in their World Cup pool. On the positive side they are in a pool with Australia who have their own troubles having replaced their head coach as well earlier in the year. However, on the flip side, Wales will face the challenge of the best prepared Fiji side in World Cup history and a rising Georgia who will be looking for another Welsh scalp to stake their claim for a place in the Six Nations. Warren Gatland will have to galvanise his first choice XV quickly to stand a chance of making it out of the pool. What that XV looks like is anyone's best guess!

Key Facts


World Cup Titles

Warren Gatland

Head Coach


Best RWC Finish

Dan Biggar



World Rugby Ranking
(as of 27th August)

Jac Morgan/ Dewi Lake


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