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Wales stars in worry on Cup spot.

ENGLISH-BASED Wales stars could have their Rugby World Cup dreams dashed by Aviva Premiership clubs' refusal to release them for training camps in July and the opening warm-up match against Ireland in Cardiff.

World Rugby's laws state clubs are not obliged to release players until 35 days before the tournament starts on September 18.

And Premier Rugby Limited (PRL), the body which represents the English top-flight clubs, have indicated they will implement this policy.

Player release rules are set out in World Rugby's regulation nine, which states countries can only expect to see their players five weeks ahead of the start of the tournament, which would be August 14.

This would mean Gloucester's Richard Hibbard, Bath-bound Rhys Priestland, Wasps second-row Bradley Davies, Exeter uncapped prop Tomas Francis and Saracens loose-head Rhys Gill missing World Cup training camps in Qatar and Switzerland and the opening warm-up match against Ireland.

These players are not currently World Cup shoo-ins and could be overtaken in the pecking order.

Gatland is set to name a 45-man training camp next month, with warmup matches against Ireland on August 8 and 29 and Italy in Cardiff on September 5, with the final 31-man squad in by September 7. Lions wing George North would be unaffected because he has full release with Northampton, while Paul James is leaving Bath at end of the season to return to Ospreys and wouldn't be affected.

Dragons on Euro |mission: Pages 68&69

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Apr 16, 2015
Words:241
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