WALES have taken a gamble on Cory Hill and selected the Dragons captain in the squad for the World Cup.

Boss Warren Gatland revealed after the loss to Ireland on Saturday that the lock had a small fracture in his leg and will miss the first two rounds of the tournament, the opener against Georgia and key clash against Australia.

Hill had been supposed to start against England in the first of the summer warm-ups only to injure the same left ankle that he damaged when scoring a try against the English in the Six Nations.

The 27-year-old has not played since that February fixture in Cardiff but has become an influential member of the squad since his debut against the Wallabies in 2016 and the management have opted to select him at the expense of Bradley Davies.

Hill, who has won 24 caps, faces a battle to prove his fitness and will then have to climb the pecking order with Adam Beard and Jake Ball impressing this summer in the tussle to join captain Alun Wyn Jones in the boilerhouse.

Hill is joined in the final 31 by Dragons teammates Elliot Dee, Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright but tighthead Leon Brown misses out.

Full-back/wing Hallam Amos, who left Rodney Parade for Cardiff Blues this summer, is also selected in the squad.

Warren Gatland has opted for six back row forwards - James Davies earning a spot - and just five props with Samson Lee a surprise omission.

Rob Evans is overtaken by Rhys Carre, Rhys Patchell is picked as back-up fly-half for Dan Biggar rather than novice Jarrod Evans and Owen Watkin edges Scott Williams to be the third centre.

South Wales Argus:

Hooker Dee has established himself as deputy to Ken Owens and has featured in 21 of Wales’ 23 internationals since making his debut against Georgia in the 2017 autumn international.

Moriarty, who sat out Saturday’s game against Ireland with a minor hip problem, will be a key figure at number eight in the absence of the injured Taulupe Faletau.

The 25-year-old will feature more prominently than four years ago, when he came off the bench against Uruguay and Australia.

Wainwright’s selection caps a remarkable rise since he made his Dragons debut against Cardiff Blues in October, 2017.

The energetic flanker has won 11 caps and is putting pressure on the first-choice trio of Moriarty, Josh Navidi and Justin Tipuric.

Prop Brown came off the bench against Ireland on Saturday but, as expected, misses out with forwards coach Robin McBryde plumping for Tomas Francis and Dillon Lewis with Samson Lee also left out.

Wales named an initial 42-man training squad but lost Taulupe Faletau and Gareth Anscombe to injury.

The unlucky nine are loosehead Rob Evans, tightheads Brown and Samson Lee, lock Davies, fly-half Evans, centre Scott Williams, wingers Owen Lane, Jonah Holmes and Steff Evans.

“Selection is always the toughest part of the job and that is especially true come RWC time,” said Gatland.

“Reducing the squad down to 31 has been extremely hard especially when you look at the depth we have created and the amount of the work the training squad have put in, for some, 14 weeks of training.

“We are really happy with the final 31, we feel there is an excellent blend to the squad, in terms of talent, experience and age profile and we are all incredibly excited about heading to Japan and what lies ahead.

“These players have performed and delivered for Wales and deserve the opportunity to represent their nation at the game’s showpiece tournament.”