Rugby World Cup 2015: Injured Wales wing Eli Walker could return
|Rugby World Cup|
|Hosts: England Dates: 18 September-31 October|
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Warren Gatland says the door is not fully closed to Eli Walker after the Ospreys wing withdrew from Wales' World Cup squad with a hamstring injury.
Walker, 23, has been replaced by Gloucester back-row Ross Moriarty.
But because Walker has been released before the tournament's start, he could be recalled as injury cover later.
"He knows the door is not closed fully yet and there may be an opportunity later in the tournament," said Wales head coach Gatland.
The World Cup officially starts on Wednesday, 16 September.
Any players who are replaced because of injury after that date cannot return during the tournament.
Gatland said Walker's problem was assessed as a two to three week injury, so he could be recalled for the latter stages if Wales make it through their pool.
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Walker was himself in the squad as cover for the injured Leigh Halfpenny.
"Eli's been very unfortunate in the past few years with the injuries he's picked up," said Gatland.
"He's obviously disappointed, but he understands that we have to put the team first and the process involved."
The New Zealander added that the decision to replace a wing with a back-row forward reflected Moriarty's form in training.
"Ross was unlucky in the first place to miss out on the squad, he made a huge amount of progress with us from where he started from with a condition point of view," added Gatland.
"He hadn't had a pre-season for the past three years. I just feel he's got a little bit of x-factor and it's a great opportunity to come back into the squad."