Taulupe Faletau has been Wales’ go-to number 8 ever since he broke onto the world stage back in 2011. With 100 caps to his name, he’s arguably one of Wales’ most important players.
Why then, is he not included in the 43 man training camp in Turkey?
The simple answer – injury.
The three-times British and Irish Lions tourist has been suffering with a calf injury that recently kept him out of the opening week of the 14-day trip to an altitude camp in Switzerland.
It has since been suggested that his injury has not fully healed, and as a result will be continuing his rehabilitation back in Wales.
Welsh fans will be desperately hoping for a full recovery for the Cardiff man as the options at number 8 are very thin.
Although Aaron Wainwright, Jac Morgan and Taine Basham have all played in that position for Wales in the past, it is not a natural selection for any of them.
At a pivotal point for Wales, they need as many players ready and available for the national side as they can get.
This comes after Ken Owens was ruled out with a back injury and Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Rhys Webb all announced their international retirements before the tournament preparation even started.
Second row Cory Hill has been exiled from the national side after signing for a Japan fourth division side, whilst Cardiff prop Rhys Carre was released by Wales after “failing to meet individual performance targets”.
The Wales squad currently remains at 48 players, with the cut down to 33 players set to be announced at the end of August.
Following Wales’ training camp in Switzerland, Gatland had the following to say: “We’re really pleased with how our two-week training camp has gone in Switzerland,
“The players worked extremely hard and made really good progress.
“We’ve decided to keep a larger group in our squad as we prepare for our three Vodafone Summer Series matches.
“We know injuries unfortunately can be picked up along the way, so it’s important to ensure that as wide a number of players as possible are up to speed with our plans.”
There will be 43 of the 48 players attending the training camp in Turkey, with admissions from Johnny Williams, Joe Roberts, Owen Williams and Alex Cuthbert due to a mixture of injuries and personal reasons.