Rugby World Cup 2015: Gatland optimistic over Liam Williams

Liam Williams was part of the Wales team which beat South Africa 12-6 in November
Liam Williams was part of the Wales team which beat South Africa 12-6 in November

Wales coach Warren Gatland is optimistic over Liam Williams' chances of playing in the World Cup.

But the 24-year-old utility back will miss the warm-up matches against Ireland on 8 and 29 August following surgery on an injured foot.

"We won't be calling anyone up. I'm optimistic he'll be ready," said New Zealander Gatland.

Wales kick off their World Cup campaign against Uruguay on 20 September before facing England, Fiji and Australia.

Williams has been included in Wales' 47-man World Cup training squad which will be trimmed down to 31 at the end of August.

His former Scarlets team-mate, centre Jonathan Davies has already been ruled out with a knee injury.

Gatland says Williams, who has made 23 Wales appearances split between wing and full-back, had been hindered by a sore foot.

"He'd been complaining about it a while," said Gatland.

"It's a shame he's picked up that injury, so he's going to spend a bit of time with the Scarlets and we're going to condition him off his feet."

Wales prepare for the tournament with training camps in in the heat of Qatar and high altitude in Switzerland.

They will also return to Poland, where they have twice held camps under Gatland before the 2011 tournament, and train in north Wales.

"He's [Williams] not going to Switzerland, he'll probably come to Qatar," said Gatland.

Samson Lee's World Cup hopes

Samson Lee
Samson Lee was forced off after 12 minutes against Ireland

Samson Lee, Williams' Scarlets team-mate is also a doubt for the tournament after rupturing an Achilles tendon in Wales' 23-16 Six Nations win over Ireland in March.

Gatland says he is confident the 22-year-old tight-head prop will be fit for their campaign.

"Samson Lee is good, he's making good progress," said the New Zealander.

"He's walking around, doing a lot of conditioning.

"We're confident he's going to recover in time to be involved.

"We think he's got a chance of being involved in the second game away in Ireland."

Injuries cause for concern

Retired dual code international Jonathan Davies says Wales do not have the strength in depth to cope with further injuries ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

And the former Ireland and London Wasps coach Gatland admitted losing more players will hamper his side's hopes.

"If we pick up another couple of injuries then it's going to cause us a couple of problems," said Gatland.

"It's always been the challenge for us. We know how strong we can be when we have a fully fit squad.

"You always know that you're going to lose one or two players during a campaign, but it's always difficult to lose them before you start.

"It's a bit of a blow, but hopefully we're not going to be hampered by too many more."

Wales training squad:

Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), James Hook (Gloucester Rugby), Matthew Morgan (Bristol Rugby), Rhys Patchell (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Jack Dixon (Newport Gwent Dragons), Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Tom James (Exeter Chiefs), George North (Northampton Saints), Eli Walker (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

Forwards: Rob Evans (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester Rugby), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Dominic Day (Bath Rugby), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, Capt).

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