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Last Updated: Friday, 10 August 2007, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Thomas leads Wales at World Cup
Wales captain Gareth Thomas
Thomas heads a six-man leadership group in the squad
Gareth Thomas will skipper Wales at the World Cup, part of a leadership group with Alun Wyn Jones, Mike Owen, Jon Thomas, Stephen Jones and Dwayne Peel.

One-cap lock Will James has made Wales' final 30-man Cup squad, edging out Grand Slam-winner Robert Sidoli.

Utility back Dafydd James' return from international exile is also confirmed with a place ahead of Lee Byrne.

Gavin Thomas, (prop) Rhys Thomas, Iestyn Thomas, Tom James, Aled Brew and Gavin Evans miss out in the final cut.

606: DEBATE

Iestyn Thomas is the biggest shock, the hard-scrummaging Scarlets loose-head having made a major impression when he ended his international exile on the summer tour to Australia.

"I did as much as I could over the summer to get into the squad, but it's down to the coach and I've been round long enough to take it," said Thomas.

It was rumoured that the position of Ospreys Duncan and Adam Jones were under threat, but the duo are in with fellow props Chris Horsman and Gethin Jenkins.

POOL B WORLD CUP SQUADS

Owen is another who will be pleased to have made the final cut following the record 62-5 defeat by England at Twickenham last Saturday, while Gareth Cooper benefits from the decision to select three scrum-halves.

Gloucester's Will James won his only cap in the England humiliation, having ousted another Grand Slam-winning lock - Brent Cockbain - from the extended 41-man summer training squad.

Scarlets three-quarter James returned at Twickenham after a year on the sidelines and scored Wales' only try.

Of the squad, Stephen Jones and Shane Williams have fitness doubts, with Ryan Jones ruled out by injury and Gavin Henson and Richard Hibbard omitted from the Wales camp due to conditioning concerns.

Injuries have given Ian Evans and Sonny Parker little chance to impress over the summer, but both are given the benefit of any doubt.

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins last season nominated Stephen Jones as the man to lead Wales to the World Cup, but James Hook threatens the Scarlets fly-half's place and a groin injury has ruled Jones out of all Wales' August Tests.

"Gareth Thomas has the captaincy credentials to take us where we need to go and his influence on and off the pitch is there for all to see," said Jenkins.

Wales lock Will James
James has beaten two Grand Slam winners to a World Cup spot

"Myself, Stephen and Gareth have had long discussions. Stephen's injury means he is not going to have the opportunity to influence the build-up to the World Cup in the manner we wished.

"Gareth is fully fit and raring to go and we are lucky to have someone of his calibre to call upon."

Grand Slam-captain Thomas is embarking on his fourth World Cup campaign at the age of 33.

The Cardiff Blues utility back is Wales' leading try scorer and will extend his own national cap record to 96 when he skippers the side from inside centre against Argentina next week.

Jenkins' team face the Pumas (18 August) and France (26 August) in warm-up Tests at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, with their opening World Cup match against Canada on 9 September at the La Beaujoire Stadium, Nantes.

The squad will return to Cardiff for Millennium Stadium games against Australia (15 September) and Japan (20 September), with the final pool game against Fiji in Nantes (29 September).


Wales' final 30-man World Cup squad:

Backs: Gareth Cooper, James Hook, Dafydd James, Mark Jones, Stephen Jones, Kevin Morgan, Sonny Parker, Dwayne Peel, Mike Phillips, Jamie Robinson, Tom Shanklin, Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Thomas (capt), Shane Williams.

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

SEE ALSO
Rugby World Cup 2007 fixtures
11 Jan 07 |  Rugby Union


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