Rugby World Cup 2015: Wales must not fear injuries - Davies

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar takes a tumble against Scotland
There is little point in trying to wrap the likes of Dan Biggar in cotton wool, says Jonathan Davies
Rugby World Cup
Host: England Dates: 18 September-31 October
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC Radio Wales and in Welsh on BBC Radio Cymru, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.

Wales should resist any temptation to protect key players from injury by resting them for the World Cup opener against Uruguay, says Jonathan Davies.

Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb will miss the tournament after being injured in a warm-up game against Italy.

Davies wants coach Warren Gatland to select his strongest side to ensure Wales score as many points as possible against Pool A's weakest team.

"We should be all in for this game," said the former Wales captain.

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"We should hit the ground running. We smash them, make a statement, put the pressure on everyone else to score points and then we've got England coming up afterwards.

"If you get injured, you get injured. Unfortunately that's part of rugby."

Biggar 'must start'

Fly-half Dan Biggar has been suggested as one of the influential players who Gatland should rest against Uruguay to ensure Wales are not further weakened by injury before facing England in the second game.

But Davies is certain the 25-year-old must play for two reasons; firstly to develop a new half-back partnership following Webb's absence at scrum-half, and to become accustomed to the pressure of being an international goal-kicker as he has assumed the goal-kicking duties from Halfpenny.

"Dan is a great kicker and he's got to start," said Davies, who believes Gareth Davies should start at scrum-half.

Owain Doull
Prop Samson Lee was not fit enough to play in any of Wales' warm-up games

"The atmosphere and pressure is slightly different at international level - it potentially won't be that much different against Uruguay given Wales should be a few points in front.

"But he has to start. He is key. If the game opens up you bring Rhys Priestland on. We've heard so much about the injuries but you've got to forget about that now."

Wales still have fitness doubts

Even if Gatland wants to field his strongest team against Uruguay, he may not be able to do so.

Doubts remain over the fitness of lock Alun Wyn Jones, back Liam Williams and prop Samson Lee.

Jones injured his knee in the second warm-up game against Ireland in August; Williams, the likely replacement for Halfpenny at full-back, has not played since having foot surgery in June, and tight-head Samson Lee has been out since rupturing his Achilles tendon in March.

Wales say all three are likely to be fit for the opening match at the Millennium Stadium against the side ranked 19th in the world.

Wales' World Cup pool games
Sunday, 20 Sept, 14:30 BST: Wales v Uruguay, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 26 Sept, 20:00 BST: England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium
Thursday, 1 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 10 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Australia, Twickenham Stadium

Clermont Auvergne centre Jonathan Davies is also missing having been ruled out since May with a knee injury, meaning Scott Williams will partner Jamie Roberts in midfield.

While acknowledging the significant blow of losing three key players, former dual-code international Davies feels their replacements make Wales a better attacking outfit.

"Liam Williams and Scott Williams have been the best two attacking players in Wales for region and country when they've played," Davies said on BBC Wales' Scrum V programme.

"So now we have to think differently because we are more of an attacking threat.

"Yes we'll miss Leigh Halfpenny and especially Rhys Webb but we go in looking far more effective as an offensive side."