Gatland rejects player’s ‘disrespect’ claim as he prepares wounded Welsh for Australia tour

Wales’ dwindling front-row resources will come under the microscope as coach Warren Gatland finalises his tour squad for the two-Test series against the Wallabies in Australia.

Hookers Elliot Dee, Sam Parry and Ryan Elias are already out of the trip, while injury question marks hang over tighthead props Henry Thomas and Keiron Assiratti, with Dillon Lewis also thought to be struggling.


Warren Gatland. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

Gatland is due to name a likely 34-strong squad on Monday, when 21-year-old uncapped Cardiff forward Efan Daniel looks set to secure a tour spot alongside fellow hookers Dewi Lake and Evan Lloyd. 

Assiratti went off during Wales’ 41-13 defeat against world champions South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday, having replaced Thomas, who has a foot problem, in the starting line-up. 

Uncapped Ospreys prop Ben Warren is understood to be in the frame for a call-up should Gatland’s hand be forced on injuries. 

Elias, wing Josh Adams and lock Will Rowlands have all been rested for the tour, which features Tests against Australia on July 6 and 13, with wing Keelan Giles and flanker Jac Morgan having been sidelined due to injuries. 

But Gatland will be bolstered by England-based players such as Nick Tompkins, Dafydd Jenkins, Christ Tshiunza and Tommy Reffell, who were all unavailable to face South Africa as the game fell outside World Rugby’s summer Test window. 

Gatland, meanwhile, has given his response to Parry quitting the training squad during the build-up to Wales facing South Africa. 

Parry reportedly believed he was “disrespected” by the Wales boss amid a claim it had been suggested to him he was only helping to prepare other squad hookers ahead of the Australia tour. 

“I was straight up with him and told him what the situation he was in in the squad,” Gatland added. 

“I said that he was initially covering for Elliot (Dee) with the injury. So, I was clear in that.” 

Elsewhere in the squad, there could be a place for former rugby league star Regan Grace, despite him having played only two senior games of union. 

Grace was called into training following Giles’ injury, and the Bath player immediately impressed, with Wales assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys describing him as an “X-factor” player. 

Grace scored 89 tries for St Helens during a league career that saw him play in three Grand Final-winning teams.

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