Rhys Carre released from Wales training squad for missing performance targets

By Sports Desk June 01, 2023

Cardiff prop Rhys Carre has been released from Wales’ preliminary Rugby World Cup training squad after failing to meet individual performance targets.

The Welsh Rugby Union said in a statement: “Rhys Carre has been released from the Wales senior men’s preliminary training squad for Rugby World Cup 2023.

“Following ongoing discussions between the player and the Wales coaching team, Carre has failed to meet individual performance targets set at the end of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.”

Carre was one of 10 props selected in the training squad alongside Nicky Smith, Corey Domachowski, Gareth Thomas, Kemsley Mathias, Tomas Francis, Dillon Lewis, Keiron Assiratti, Henry Thomas and Will Davies-King.

Domachowski, Mathias, Assiratti, Thomas and Davies-King are all uncapped, while Carre has made 20 Test match appearances.

His Wales debut came in 2019, and he was also part of the World Cup squad in Japan later that year.

Carre, 25, has become the fourth player to depart head coach Warren Gatland’s 54-man group that he announced last month.

Ospreys trio Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Rhys Webb all announced their international retirements ahead of the World Cup in France later this year after being named in the squad.

Wales play three World Cup warm-up games in August, with their tournament opener being against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10.

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    Victory for Wales would send them into a fourth successive World Cup quarter-final with one group game to spare.

    Australia, meanwhile, know that defeat realistically condemns them to a pool-stage exit for the first time in World Cup history.

    “It will be one hell of a game, and that will be down to not just them being desperate, but us being desperate to progress through this pool,” Wales head coach Gatland said.

    “There is definitely desperation for us because a loss or no points and the group could potentially come down to points difference.

    “That is the last position we want to be in. I think that, when you’ve worked so hard and made as many sacrifices as the coaches and players have made in the past four months, that creates its own desperation.

    “Why give yourself a get out of jail card when you don’t need to do that? We are desperate for the right reasons.”

    Wales co-captain and hooker Dewi Lake has missed out on a place in Wales’ matchday 23 for the Lyon showdown.

    Gatland has named the same team that defeated Fiji 12 days ago, with Ryan Elias starting at hooker in a side skippered by flanker Jac Morgan.

    Elliot Dee provides cover for Elias on the bench, while lock Adam Beard will win his 50th cap. There is also a spot among the replacements for former England prop Henry Thomas, who is on course to make his Wales World Cup debut.

    Flanker Tommy Reffell, a late withdrawal due to a tight calf muscle before Wales faced Portugal last weekend, also misses out, with Taine Basham providing back-row bench cover.

    “He (Lake) was disappointed. He hasn’t had a lot of rugby, he has been carrying an injury and that was probably the decision we made for that one,” Gatland added.

    “I have always been a fan of Elliot Dee in terms of his lineout throwing and how he brings energy off the bench. I know Dewi was disappointed, but it doesn’t mean that he is not going to feature in further games.”

    Gatland is relishing another coaching encounter with Australia head coach and former England boss Eddie Jones, who has come in for considerable criticism following the Wallabies’ 22-15 defeat against Fiji last weekend.

    That result has left Australia in the last-chance saloon as they look to navigate their way out of Pool C and onwards in the competition.

    “You have come to realise what to expect from an Eddie team,” Gatland said.

    “With regards to the way they are going to play on Sunday, we have prepared for a couple of scenarios.

    “I was surprised at their tactics against Fiji. There were 11 less minutes ball-in-play time to us (Wales against Fiji), so I am not 100 per cent sure tactically how they will come at us.

    “As coaches, we all come under pressure at times – it is part of the job.

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    “Our relationship has always been good. We have been out on a number of occasions and had meals together. I find his company good – he is engaging.

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    Dupont suffered a facial fracture during France’s record 96-0 win against Namibia in Marseille.

    Deysel’s yellow card for the collision, with France leading 54-0, was upgraded to red following a review by the television match official.

    The French Rugby Federation confirmed the extent of Dupont’s injury on Friday, but said it was uncertain how long the scrum-half will be unavailable for.

    Deysel said: “I would like to extend my best wishes to Antoine Dupont. Clearly, I meant no harm.

    “Everything happened very quickly and I couldn’t get my head out of the way quick enough, resulting in a head clash. I know the rules and immediately knew that I was at fault.

    “I spoke with Fabien Galthie (France head coach) immediately after the match and sent my best wishes and apologies to Antoine, both personally and via the France team doctor.

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    A tearful Dupont went to hospital in nearby Aix-en-Provence, and the Federation said: “Specialised surgical advice was requested to assess how long he will be unavailable for.”

    France’s final pool game is against Italy in Lyon on October 6, before a quarter-final – probably against Ireland or South Africa – the following weekend.

    If Les Bleus reach the semi-finals, they take place in Paris on October 20 and 21.

    Dupont’s fitness setback is headline news in France, and there is a real possibility of Les Bleus losing their star player for the tournament remainder.

    Wales head coach Warren Gatland and England scrum-half Danny Care, meanwhile, have been among the well-wishers to Dupont.

    Gatland said: “Hopefully, he will be OK.

    “The World Cup needs a player like him to be fit and be there past the group stage, in the quarter-finals, semi-finals or if France get to the final. He is absolutely world class.”

    And Care said: “In the World Cup, you want to see the best players. Antoine is the best player in the world, so we want to see him back there in a French shirt.

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    Former world player of the year Dupont has been the star performer in a resurgent French team under Galthie’s direction.

    And while it is hoped he can return before the end of the tournament, there must also be doubts about his future participation as France target a first world title.

    France attack coach Laurent Labit said on Friday: “We always have a hope that Antoine will continue the adventure with us.

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    “For us, Antoine hasn’t finished the competition. We have three days in front of us. We hope to have good news after the three days.

    “Antoine certainly imagined the worst before the first examinations. After the initial tests, Fabien (Galthie) went to see him.

    “Antoine stays with us. Everyone will be together. We will do as we have always done with short-term injuries in hoping that the opinion of the surgeon is positive for Antoine and us.

    “The specialist knows who Antoine Dupont is, what competition he is currently playing. It is not an average subject.”

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    Much has been made of South Africa’s bold decision to stack their bench with a seven-one split of forwards and backs. The Springboks successfully deployed the unusual strategy in last month’s crushing 35-7 warm-up win over the All Blacks.

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