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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Wales axe Cockbain from RWC plans
Brent Cockbain
Cockbain has struggled to establish himself after injury
Grand Slam-winning second row Brent Cockbain is the big name missing from Wales' extended World Cup squad.

The shock inclusion in his place is Gloucester's ex-Pontypridd, Cornish Pirates and Plymouth lock Will James.

Grand Slam-winning hooker Mefin Davies is also omitted, lock James and wing Tom James the only uncapped players.

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins has named an extended squad of 41 for summer training and the 4 August England game, to be cut to the final 30 by 14 August.

His side then face further warm-up matches with Argentina and France, before their World Cup campaign opens against Canada in Nantes on 9 September - where Jenkins' team will head for a week-long training camp on 21 July.


Wales left 20 senior players at home for rest or rehabilitation during the two-Test summer tour of Australia.

Jenkins' weakened side lost both games against the Wallabies, but a number of players impressed, especially in the first Test.

Colin Charvis, Adam Jones, Michael Owen, Jon Thomas, Mike Phillips, James Hook and Gareth Thomas were foremost amongst the tourists in putting themselves forward for selection.

Trimming this group of players down to a 30-man squad will be the hardest selection decision I've ever had to make as a coach

Gareth Jenkins

"Players have forced themselves into contention in Australia and there are others who still need the opportunity to show what they have to offer," said Jenkins.

"These are the kinds of selection dilemmas you need as a coach. I've no doubt that trimming this group of players down to a 30-man squad will be the hardest selection decision I've ever had to make as a coach - but it's a challenge I relish."

Queenslander Cockbain, 32, was a surprise inclusion in Wales' squad ahead of the 2003 World Cup in Australia.

He added an abrasive edge to the Welsh pack and was a key member of the 2005 Grand Slam team.

Having made the summer's Lions tour as a replacement, he ripped a hamstring muscle from his bone while playing Fiji in the autumn and has struggled to reclaim his place since.

Will James
James has made an impact since joining Gloucester last year

He started the first Test in Australia last month, but an early head injury ended his participation in the tour and Owen impressed at lock in his place.

"Brent won't be working with us in the summer, but things happen, injuries occur, and I would consider him for the World Cup if circumstances change," said Jenkins.

"But I felt that we needed to up our ball-carrying options and defensive work at line-outs and I'm looking forward to seeing Will there.

"He is someone we have been keeping an eye on and we felt the time was right for us to have a closer look at him."

Gloucester hard-man James, 30, stands at 6ft 5ins and 19st and has a rugged reputation, being known by the nick-name 'Bull'.

Born in Plymouth, he qualifies for Wales through parentage and has been capped by Wales A.

He joined Gloucester from the Pirates last year, making 18 appearances this season, including a start in the Guinness Premiership final.

Wales' extended summer training squad:

Backs: Aled Brew, Lee Byrne, Gareth Cooper, Gavin Evans, Gavin Henson, James Hook, Dafydd James, Thomas James, Mark Jones, Stephen Jones, Kevin Morgan, Sonny Parker, Dwayne Peel, Mike Phillips, Jamie Robinson, Tom Shanklin, Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Thomas, Shane Williams.

Forwards: Huw Bennett, Colin Charvis, Ian Evans, Ian Gough, Richard Hibbard, Chris Horsman, Will James, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Duncan Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Michael Owen, Alix Popham, Matthew Rees, Rob Sidoli, Gavin Thomas, Iestyn Thomas, Jonathan Thomas, Rhys Thomas, T Rhys Thomas, Martyn Williams.

Rugby World Cup 2007 fixtures
11 Jan 07 |  Rugby Union


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