Can Wales win the 2015 Rugby World Cup?

Date published: September 15 2015

With less than two weeks until the tournament gets underway, Wales have had mixed preparations in the build-up to the competition. While their on-field performances have been impressive, Warren Gatland’s side have been plagued by a number of injury problems to key players in their squad.

Earlier this week, Wales received the news that all of their supporters were dreading: Leigh Halfpenny has been ruled out of the tournament. The full-back is one of the best players on the planet and has a key role in Gatland’s squad. Not only is Halfpenny the goal kicker, but he is one of the best attacking number 15’s in the sport.

Meanwhile, Rhys Webb has also been ruled out of the tournament after he also suffered a serious injury problem. Although Webb’s isn’t as serious as Halfpenny’s ACL issue, he will still be out for a number of months and will hope to bounce back in 2016. There is no doubt that Wales will miss both of these players throughout the tournament.

Both players picked up their respectively injury problems in the friendly clash with Italy last weekend. Wales boss Gatland has come under criticism for selecting these players in such a low-profile fixture, however the Welsh boss has moved to defend his decision, pointing out that all of the top sides were playing their best players in order to fully prepare for the tournament. Unfortunately, it is just one of those freak incidents and Wales must try to deal with it as effectively as possible.

Wales have two more than capable replacements to come into the squad and they will still fancy their chances of success next month. At the time of writing, they are valued at 20/1 at to lift the Webb Ellis Cup on October 31st. Gatland’s men are a strong, well organised side and will be keen to show that they are not too reliant on the likes of Webb and Halfpenny in the tournament.