Hill makes Wales squad for Rugby World Cup

Cory Hill was included in Warren Gatland's Rugby World Cup squad as the Wales head coach made a number of surprise calls. Photo by Ian Cook -- CameraSport via Getty Images

Cory Hill will travel to Japan as part of Wales' Rugby World Cup squad later this month despite uncertainty over his fitness for the early stages of the tournament due to a small leg fracture.

Head coach Warren Gatland made a number of surprise calls in his player selection for the tournament, with prop Rob Evans and prop forward Samson Lee missing out.

Jarrod Evans also failed to make the cut for Wales as Gatland preferred Rhys Patchell, while Owen Watkin's inclusion came at the expense of Scott Williams.

Twenty-one-year-old loosehead prop Rhys Carre was included, as were brothers Jonathan Davies and James Davies.

Another big call saw Gatland give Hallam Amos the nod over Owen Lane.

Gareth Anscombe and Taulupe Faletau had already been ruled out of contention through injury.

"Nobody was nailed on a month ago," Gatland said. "Last week, we looked at the squad and felt there were 24 or 25 that were good contenders. It probably hasn't changed massively from what we originally went out to pick the squad from.

"We've seen a huge growth in a number of players. Our original thinking was six props, but we've gone with five. There always has to be a compromise in the squad. We'll be doing some work with Wyn Jones in terms of covering that tight-head position.

"All of the players who have missed out have commented on the WhatsApp group to wish the boys all the best.

"The players who have missed out will be on the standby list. It's not an easy conversation to have [to tell players they did not make the squad]."

On the inclusion of Hill, Gatland suggested that the lock forward is likely just to miss the first game of Wales' World Cup campaign -- not the opening two matches as was initially feared.

"With Cory Hill not being available until the second game, [Aaron] Shingler covers us," Gatland said.

Discussing the absences of Rob Evans and Lee, the coach added: "When we decided to go with the five props, one of the big discussions was how durable they are. Rob hasn't trained a lot. He came in with a shoulder injury, then a neck injury and a few back issues. Samson has missed a few campaigns, had a hamstring issue during the campaign."

Gatland expressed confidence in the strength of the squad, saying that there is a greater depth than in recent years.

"I think it's good enough to win the World Cup. We've created a depth in this squad and we've left out some real quality players. In the past, you may have been happy with 24, and others making up the numbers, but this time we've left out some class players."

Thirteen players in Wales' 31-man squad have World Cup experience, with Alun Wyn Jones set to feature at the tournament for the fourth time, while George North and Ken Owens will each make their third appearance at the competition.

Wales Rugby World Cup Squad

Forwards: Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Rhys Carre, James Davies, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Ken Owens, Aaron Shingler, Nicky Smith, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Backs: Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Dan Biggar, Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin, Liam Williams, Tomos Williams.