- Veteran No. 8 ruled out of tournament
- Gatland gets creative and brings in scrum half Hardy as replacement
- Faletau absence a blow but Gatland has confidence in back row options
Wales’ World Cup campaign has encountered a setback as Taulupe Faletau, the experienced number eight, sustained a broken arm during their 43-19 victory against Georgia in Nantes. The injury has ruled him out of the tournament.
Faletau loss is a big setback/Gatland makes left field choice on replacement
The loss of Faletau is significant, with the No 8 a vital part of Gatland’s first-choice forward pack.In response to the forward’s absence, head coach Warren Gatland has made a strategic substitution, bringing in scrum-half Kieran Hardy from Scarlets. With only Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies initially listed in the 33-man squad, Hardy’s inclusion provides much-needed depth at the scrum-half position.
Gatland expressed confidence in the team’s options in the back row, explaining the decision to call up Hardy was to alleviate some training pressure and bolster scrum-half coverage.
Looking ahead, Wales is set to face Argentina in their World Cup quarter-final clash scheduled for Saturday, 14 October in Marseille. As a result of Faletau’s injury, Aaron Wainwright is likely to transition to number eight from his usual blind-side flanker position.
This adjustment opens up opportunities for players like Taine Basham, Dan Lydiate, Tommy Reffell, and Christ Tshiunza to potentially join Wainwright and co-captain Jac Morgan in the back row.
Hardy, 27, will integrate into the Welsh squad in Versailles on Sunday to partake in preparations for the crucial match against Argentina.
The team is also grappling with injuries to key players including fly-halves Dan Biggar (chest), Gareth Anscombe (groin), and full-back Liam Williams (knee) as they gear up for the quarter-final face-off against the Pumas.
Faletau is an experienced player who is first choice No. 8. Bettors need to assess how much impact his absence will have on Wales’ chances in the quarter-final and in the tournament as a whole.
Wales are currently favourites to beat Argentina. At the time of writing bet365 have the Welsh priced at 8/13 with Argentina 6/4 and a draw 18/1.
As far as the tournament is concerned, BoyleSports have Wales at 22/1 to win, making them sixth favourites.
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