Sale back-row Andy Powell keeps Wales World Cup hope

Andy Powell
Sale Sharks back-row forward Andy Powell has won 17 Wales caps

Andy Powell has not given up hope of forcing his way back into Wales coach Warren Gatland's World Cup plans.

The Sale Sharks back-rower was part of an initial 45-man squad that travelled to Spala in Poland for a training camp.

Powell was left out when the squad was trimmed for a second week but he said: "It's everybody's dream to be in a World Cup and if it does happen great.

"But my focus now is playing for Sale and the Welsh thing is at the back of my mind."

The 29-year-old was ommitted when Gatland cut the squad to the second training camp to 35, along with players like Cardiff Blues scrum-half Richie Rees and Ospreys forward Jonathan Thomas.

Powell does face tough back-row competition and it seems Ryan Jones, Dan Lydiate, Toby Faletau, Josh Turnbull, Rob McCusker and Justin Tipuric are ahead of him in the Wales pecking order.

But the coach did say: "The door is still very much open for those players who are not making this trip."

Powell, however, is now concentrating on his new club following his summer move from Wasps.

"We'll watch to see what the other boys, youngsters can do. It's an opportunity for them," said Powell.

"And for me it's just to go back up to Sale, train well and catch the coaches' eyes up there so they can give feedback to Gatland to say that I'm still training hard.

"But he was positive, he said 'keep going'... which is good from that perspective.

"England is coming up now [in] two weeks but all I can do is keep training hard and if it comes along I'll grasp it with two hands."

Wales go to Twickenham on 6 August to face England before a return Test in Cardiff the following Saturday, then complete their World Cup warm-up programme against Argentina on 20 August.

Gatland must then name his final 30-man squad for September's World Cup in New Zealand by 22 August.

Powell has not added to his 17 Wales caps since starting the 19-26 defeat to England in last season's Six Nations opener, where he suffered an injury early on.

"It was very frustrating, probably playing some of the best rugby I've played from the Lions up to that England game," Powell said.

"First 10 minutes taking a knock on the shoulder and probably not recovering from it for about six to eight weeks... it puts you back a few places.

"I was confident, I know my own ability and I work hard off the pitch to get myself back right."

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