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Wales’ Navidi out of Rugby World Cup

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Wales’ number 8 Josh Navidi (C) is tackled by France’s flanker Charles Ollivon and France’s hooker Guilhem Guirado (R) during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between Wales and France at the Oita Stadium in Oita on October 20, 2019. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

Josh Navidi is out of the World Cup after tearing his hamstring against France in the World Cup quarter-final.

The Wales flanker, 28, was taken off in the 28th minute of the 20-19 win in Oita on Sunday and has now been ruled out of the tournament with a grade two tear.

The Welsh coaches will now deliberate about who will come into replace him, but Warren Gatland said it would be a back, not a forward.

Scott Williams, the Ospreys centre with 58 caps, looks likeliest to get the call as Wales look to cover for Jonathan Davies and Hadleigh Parkes who have knee and hand knocks respectively.

‘Josh is no good so he’ll be ruled out,’ revealed Gatland, who expects his centres to be fit for South Africa.

‘We’ll be looking to bring in a replacement tomorrow but we’ve just got to go through that process, go through World Rugby at the moment and send some stuff through to them and for them to agree for a replacement to come out.

‘I think, given that we’ve got six back-rowers and we’ve got five fits at the moment, we’ve been a little bit short in numbers in the backs so it probably will be a back who comes out as a replacement.

‘It’s disappointing for Josh. Hopefully, we will keep him out here.

‘Obviously he loses his accreditation, but since he’s gone so far in the tournament it will be nice for him to stay out for the next couple of weeks.

‘We’re just going through that with him. It’s very disappointing for him as he’s been very influential and important for us in the last year.

‘It’s disappointing to have a player ruled out, but in saying that these games are so physical and to have only one player ruled out at this stage is a real positive for us.

‘We’ve been pretty lucky and that’s been the whole experience since 2015 – about creating depth in the squad and trying to keep everyone as healthy as we possibly can.’

And on Williams, who has played three sets of 80 minutes for the Ospreys in the new Pro14 season back home, potentially coming in, Gatland added: ‘He’s been playing rugby and been playing so he’s available.

‘He’s absolutely in contention. We’ve got a meeting tonight to decide who that potential replacement will be. There are a number of options.’

Wales face South Africa in the World Cup semi-final on Sunday in Yokohama – it is just the third time they have ever made the last four.


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