'We have selected 31 players at present because we have included four hookers,' said Hansen. 'That is due to a few injury worries we are having which will be resolved prior to the final
registration date with Rugby World Cup.
'Overall the selection process was a difficult one to go through as, for once, we have more than 30 quality players to choose from.
'But by being allowed to use the games in August for selection
purposes our overall selection has been aided. 'This has been a tough selection process. There has been so much at stake for all the players over the past few weeks and they have trained exceptionally hard as a group.
'Everyone involved in the build-up to our four Tests in August showed the kind of burning desire required to play for their country, but, because we are restricted to 30 players in Australia there are obviously some very disappointed men today.
'But for those who have been selected there is a huge challenge ahead. We are targeting a minimum of five matches in the tournament and a place among the elite eight teams in the world by the time we return is the minimum standard we have set for ourselves.
'Our draw in Pool D is perfectly set-up for us. We all believe we are good enough to beat Canada, Tonga and Italy and then go into our final Pool game against the All Blacks full of confidence.
'In selecting the side we looked at versatility among the players and there are a number who can cover more than one position. For example, in the back line, Rhys Williams can play across the back three, while Gareth Thomas and Tom Shanklin are at home at either wing or centre.
'Iestyn Harris can play 10 or 12 and Shane Williams can play wing or scrum half. In the forwards, there are plenty of options among the back row contingent, Michael Owen can fit into the second row or back row and Gethin Jenkins can pack on either side of the front row. Colin Charvis will cover the openside position in the short term.
'Chris Wyatt has been very, very unlucky to miss out on a second World Cup. Naturally he is disappointed and we have had a long talk and I still see him having a future for Wales, but
unfortunatley we could only take four locks with us this time.The combination we have selected we feel is better suited for this particular tournament.
'We will be addressing the captaincy issue at a later date.'
David Pickering, WRU Chairman and Wales team manager at the 1999 RWC tournament, said: 'Rugby World Cup is an unique opportunity every four years for a rugby nation to be judged on the world stage.
'Our goal must be to emulate our performance in 1999 and
finish within the top eight in the world. It is our belief we have enough talent in our squad and management to achieve this objective.
'They carry with them the hope and support of our proud nation, and the WRU in particular. We wish Alan, Steve and the squad all the very best as they strive in their endeavours to ensure that Welsh rugby is once again successful at the World Cup.'
David Moffett, WRU Chief Executive, added his backing.
'Everyone in Wales will be hoping that Steve's side do themselves credit in Australia and they will have the total support of the nation.'
WALES SQUAD FOR RWC 2003
1 Kevin Morgan (Celtic Warriors)
2 Rhys Williams (Cardiff Blues)
3 Garan Evans (Llanelli Scarlets)
4 Gareth Thomas (Celtic Warriors)
5 Mark Jones (Llanelli Scarlets)
6 Mark Taylor (Llanelli Scarlets)
7 Tom Shanklin (Cardiff Blues)
8 Sonny Parker (Celtic Warriors)
9 Iestyn Harris (Cardiff Blues)
10 Ceri Sweeney (Celtic Warriors)
11 Stephen Jones (Llanelli Scarlets)
12 Dwayne Peel (Llanelli Scarlets)
13 Gareth Cooper (Celtic Warriors)
14 Shane Williams (Neath-Swansea Ospreys)
1 Jonathan Thomas (Neath-Swansea Ospreys)
2 Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues)
3 Colin Charvis (Unattached)
4 Dafydd Jones (Llanelli Scarlets)
5 Alix Popham (Leeds Tykes)
6 Michael Owen (Gwent Dragons)
7 Gareth Llewellyn (Neath-Swansea Ospreys)
8 Robert Sidoli (Celtic Warriors)
9 Brent Cockbain (Celtic Warriors)
10 Gethin Jenkins (Celtic Warriors)
11 Adam Jones (Neath-Swansea Ospreys)
12 Duncan Jones (Neath-Swansea Ospreys)
13 Iestyn Thomas (Llanelli Scarlets)
14 Gareth Williams (Cardiff Blues)
15 Robin McBryde (Llanelli Scarlets)
16 Huw Bennett (Neath-Swansea Ospreys)
17 Mefin Davies (Celtic Warriors)
WALES (POOL D)
Wales will arrive in Canberra on 3 October and fly to Melbourne on 10 October for their opening match against Canada on 12 October. They will return to their Canberra base on 13 October and remain there for the next 18 days, during which time they will play Tonga and Italy. On 31 October they move to Sydney for the
match against New Zealand on 2 November.
DATE UK KICK-OFF OPPONENTS VENUE
Sunday 12 October 9.00 am CANADA Melbourne
Sunday 19 October 9.00 am TONGA Canberra
Saturday 25 October 9.30 am ITALY Canberra
Sunday 2 November 9.35 am NEW ZEALAND Sydney
QUARTER-FINALS: 8 / 9 November
SEMI-FINALS: 15 / 16 November
PLAY-OFF: 20 November Sydney
WORLD CUP FINAL: 22 November Sydney
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