Samson Lee 'touch and go' to be fit for World Cup opener

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

Wales prop Samson Lee remains "touch and go" to make the World Cup squad, according to coach Warren Gatland.

But given the Scarlets tight-head's importance, Gatland said he may risk the injured 22-year-old for the tournament, which starts in September.

"He's doing pretty well. It's going to be touch and go in terms of the World Cup squad," said Gatland.

"We may have to take him as an injured player and hope he's OK for the second or third game."

Immediately after Lee's injury in Wales' Six Nations win over Ireland in March, Gatland rated his chances of being fit for the World Cup as 50-50.

This week, the Scarlets prop was said to be "ahead of schedule" in his recovery after training with Wales in Doha.

Liam Williams was part of the Wales team which beat South Africa 12-6 in November
Liam Williams looks unlikely to feature in any of Wales' warm-up games

There is a month to go before the final World Cup squad is chosen and tight-head is a position which has caused concern, with Lee's Scarlets team-mate Rhodri Jones ruled out of the tournament with a torn pectoral muscle.

Blues prop Scott Andrews was called up as a replacement for Jones, while Aaron Jarvis of Ospreys and Exeter's Tomas Francis are the other tight-heads in Wales' training squad.

Wales are also monitoring the fitness of full-back and wing Liam Williams as he recovers from surgery on an injured foot. Gatland suggested he could be another to be included in the squad even if not fully fit.

"He's going to take a little bit of time," Gatland told Sky Sport News. "He's probably going to miss the warm-up games so we've got to make sure we've got a bit of cover, a bit of depth there."

Wales begin their warm-up matches at home to Ireland on 8 August, with a trip to Dublin three weeks later. The final match before the tournament is at home to Italy on 5 September.

"Probably the first game against Ireland there's an opportunity for some of the younger players, or less established players to put claims and then the game against Ireland away we'll probably put out a a much more experienced side," Gatland added.

"Two days after that we've got to select the World Cup squad and then that home game against Italy will be when the World Cup squad plays. For sure, it's a challenge."

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