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Rugby World Cup: Wales team profile

Wales have the credentials to be considered contenders for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, having reached the semi-finals in two of the last three global tournaments.

But off the back of a difficult 18 months for the national side, they are instead considered outsiders, albeit ones capable of springing a surprise in France.

Confirmed Squad


Corey Domachowski (Cardiff), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Eliott Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Dewi Lake (Ospreys), Tomas Francis (Ospreys), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff), Henry Thomas (Montpellier), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), Will Rowlands (Dragons), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs), Taine Basham (Dragons), Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Jac Morgan (Ospreys), Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).


Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff), Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), Dan Biggar (Toulon), Sam Costelow (Scarlets), Mason Grady (Cardiff), George North (Ospreys), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Johnny Williams (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Cardiff), Rio Dyer (Dragons), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Liam Williams (Cardiff).


Warren Gatland is arguably Wales’ greatest-ever coach, enjoying a success-laden first 12 years in charge before exiting after the 2019 World Cup, only to return at the end of last year to try and change the team’s fortunes.

Before his first stint as Wales coach between 2007 and 2019, Gatland had a mixed time in charge of Ireland before really building his reputation as a head coach with Wasps, guiding them to three Premiership titles, the European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup.

The New Zealander moved on to Wales after the 2007 World Cup, going on to become the joint-most successful coach in Six Nations history, winning four titles, three of them Grand Slams.

Wales finished fourth at the 2011 and 2019 World Cups, falling agonisingly short of a maiden final appearance on each occasion, while Gatland guided them to the top of the world rankings for the first time ever in 2019.

Gatland has also taken charge of three British & Irish Lions tours, winning one series in Australia and drawing another in New Zealand. 

The 59-year-old was drafted back in by Wales in 2022 after a dreadful Six Nations run and has signed a deal through to the 2027 World Cup.

Possible First XV

15. Liam Williams
14. Louis Rees-Zammit
13. George North
12. Nick Tompkins
11. Josh Adams
10. Dan Biggar
9. Tomos Williams
8. Taulupe Faletau
7. Jac Morgan
6. Aaron Wainwright
5. Will Rowlands
4. Adam Beard
3. Tomas Francis
2. Elliot Dee
1. Gareth Thomas


Wales boast one of the most experienced and explosive backlines in world rugby, with full-backs Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny proven Test match animals. 

On the wings, Josh Adams was the top tryscorer at the 2019 World Cup, Louis Rees-Zammit has electric pace and Alex Cuthbert is another experienced player who has done it on the big stage.

Wales’ goal-kicking should be on point too, with fly-half Dan Biggar boasting one of the most reliable boots in the game, backed up by the equally accurate Halfpenny, who is a long-range option too.

Even with the retirement of some big names before the World Cup, Wales’ squad still possesses plenty of experience, while there have been signs during the build-up to the tournament of the defensive element of Wales’ game coming together.


Wales’ attacking output has been poor for the last 18 months, averaging 1.9 tries per game in 2022 and scoring the second-fewest tries (11) during the last Six Nations. 

Wales lack ball-carrying forwards, particularly amongst the props and second row, two areas where they don’t have a great deal of strength in depth.

The financial crisis that has gripped Welsh rugby still hangs over the team too, resulting in some big names opting out of the World Cup, and it remains to be seen how that will affect their tournament.

Key players

Louis Rees-Zammit

With a 100m time of 10.69 seconds, Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit’s turn of foot can prove deadly if given the room to run, making him capable of punishing any rogue kick that comes his way.

He demonstrated his frightening speed during the World Cup warm-up win over England, albeit his excellent try was later ruled out following a TMO check.

At 21, Rees-Zammit still has plenty to learn, although he did show during a run out at full-back last autumn that he’s improved under the high ball and with his kicking game.

Taulupe Faletau

With 100 caps to his name and three World Cups under his belt, Cardiff back-row Taulupe Faletau has seen and done it all for Wales and still remains a top-level performer. 

His participation at the World Cup is in doubt due to a calf issue and Gatland will be desperate for the 32-year-old to prove his fitness.

Faletau’s uncompromising style, coupled with his  fancy footwork and brilliant ability to read the game, have helped make him a vital part of the Wales team through both of Gatland’s tenures.

Dan Biggar

Fly-half Dan Biggar is up to fourth on Wales' list for both caps and points, having scored 603 points for the national team.

Biggar is a traditionalist's fly-half who doesn’t possess a strong running game, but is instead a master tactician and vocal leader with a deadly right boot.

In his seven games for Toulon last season, Biggar has proven his worth, knocking over 21 of his 28 shots at goal in France, and his placekicking will be vital to Wales’ World Cup ambitions given their recent struggles to score tries.

Ones to watch

Jac Morgan

Gatland has had to fast-track the next generation through, meaning there’s plenty of exciting young talent in the Wales World Cup squad.

Jac Morgan has been singled out by Gatland as a big player for the team going forward and named him skipper for the warm-up clash with England.

Morgan shone during that warm-up win and there has been suggestions he could be granted the team captaincy permanently.

Max Llewellyn

Max Llewellyn got his first run-out in that same game in Cardiff and is one to keep an eye on given that he fits the mould of what Gatland wants from an inside centre.

At 6ft 5in and over 16st, Llewellyn is hard to stop when he gets going, but faces competition for that position from fellow stronger runner Keiran Williams - who had an excellent 2023/23 season for Ospreys - as well as Nick Tompkins.


  • To Win Outright - 33/1
  • To Reach the Final - 12/1
  • To Win Pool - 13/5

All odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

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