Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb has been ruled out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup due to a foot injury. He joins Leigh Halfpenny in missing the competition, with Mike Phillips and Eli Walker called into replace the stricken duo.
Toulon full-back Halfpenny suffered anterior cruciate ligament injury in what turned out to be a costly warm-up game against Italy for Warren Gatland's side on 5 September. The 26-year-old is now facing a six-month spell on the sidelines. The WRU has now confirmed he has been joined by last season's Welsh player of the year Webb, who will undergo further assessments to determine the extent of his injury.
"It is extremely disappointing for both Leigh and Rhys," Gatland said. "They have worked exceptionally hard to establish themselves on the world stage and to prepare for the tournament and we wish them all the best with their recovery."
Webb's absence will come as a huge blow to Gatland's plans after establishing himself as his country's leading scrum-half following an outstanding Six Nations campaign earlier in 2015. The Wales head coach is hopeful Phillips's experience can help fill the void.
He said: "After announcing the squad, we spoke about the need for players to remain ready for action and is a great opportunity for Mike and Eli. It's great that we can call on players of this calibre. To bring Mike's experience into the squad is a bonus along with Eli's exciting talent."