Rugby World Cup 2015: Gatland looks back to rebuild Wales

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland took over as Wales head coach in 2007

There is an element of looking to the future while turning back the clock with Warren Gatland picking Wales' 47-man Rugby World Cup training squad.

In the build-up to and during the 2011 tournament, players previously untried at international level such as Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Priestland and Scott Williams came to the fore and became established members of the Welsh team.

Four years on, 17 of the squad who took Wales to a World Cup semi-final in New Zealand remain having gathered four years' experience, and they have been joined by a handful of newcomers who the Welsh management hope will have a similar effect.

Untried but familiar faces

Although there are nine uncapped players in the extended squad, they are not all newcomers.

Gareth Anscombe, Tyler Morgan, Eli Walker, Kristian Dacey and Rory Thornton, currently captaining the Wales Under-20s in Italy, have all been part of recent Welsh squads.

Tomas Francis infographic

Some of the others are more interesting. Dominic Day gets a call up just short of his 30th birthday. Having spent five seasons with the Scarlets, he has become a prominent part of the Bath team that lost out to Saracens in the English Premiership play-off final.

Red Dragon over Red Rose

There are another two who are plying their trade in England who look to have opted for the Red Dragon rather than the Red Rose.

Exeter prop Tomas Francis thought the prospect of international rugby may have come too early when he was added to Wales' Six Nations squad, but is now committed to taking the step up - as is Ross Moriarty.

Paul Moriarty infographic

A new face if not a new name. Capped by England at Under-18 and Under-20 level, he will look to follow in the footsteps of father Paul and uncle Richard who both represented Wales in the inaugural World Cup in New Zealand in 1987.

His inclusion came in the most competitive of positions, with in-form back-row players such as James Davies, Aaron Shingler, Josh Turnbull and Josh Navidi all missing out.

Blasts from the past

Returning to the fold after long absences are scrum-half Lloyd Williams and a blast from the past who will soon be a Blues team-mate of his after leaving Exeter, wing Tom James, who won the last of his 10 caps five years ago.

The 47-man squad will be whittled down to 31 at the end of August after training camps in Switzerland, Qatar and Poland followed by warm-up games against Ireland, with a final warm-up game to come against Italy on 5 September.

By that time fitness levels and friendships will have been pushed to the limit.

Robin McBryde infographic

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