Wales coach Warren Gatland calls up Taine Plumtree to World Cup training squad
Warren Gatland has called up uncapped back-row forward Taine Plumtree to Wales’ World Cup training squad for a two-week camp in Switzerland.
Plumtree is part of a group that has travelled to Fiesch in the Swiss Alps, the Welsh Rugby Union said.
The 23-year-old was born in Swansea and is the son of former Ireland, Japan and New Zealand assistant coach John Plumtree.
A New Zealand Under-20 international, he has played Super Rugby for the Auckland-based Blues and will link up with the Scarlets next season.
Wales head coach Gatland has seen his back-row options hit by Justin Tipuric retiring from Test rugby and Josh Macleod suffering a shoulder injury.
And Plumtree now has a golden opportunity to showcase World Cup credentials ahead of Gatland announcing his final 33-strong squad next month.
Gatland said: “We’ve called up Taine Plumtree to the squad to give him an opportunity.
“I spoke to Taine about three weeks ago about the possibility. He seemed pretty excited.
“He was born in Swansea, has come through the New Zealand system and is also eligible for South Africa as well with a South African mum.
“For us, given that we’ve had Josh Macleod pull out of the squad due to injury, some players unavailable and Taulupe Faletau has picked up a bit of an injury, we thought it was a great opportunity for Taine to come in.
“He is a six-foot five-inch back-row forward – we don’t have a lot of those in Wales. Whether he makes the World Cup squad or not, he is definitely a player we want to keep in mind for the future.
“Potentially, that is later down the track with the Six Nations, but he gets a chance to come in and we just know how excited he is to get the opportunity to come in and take that chance with us out in Switzerland.”
Wing Alex Cuthbert and fly-half Owen Williams, meanwhile, have not made the trip due to personal reasons.
And number eight Faletau is expected to join the group next week as he continues his recovery from a calf muscle injury.
Wales will head to Turkey later this month for a second overseas camp before two World Cup warm-up games in August against England and a Principality Stadium appointment with South Africa.
Wales’ opening World Cup fixture sees them face Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10.