Wales coach Mike Ruddock will name his first squad, for the Barbarians game and summer tour of Argentina and South Africa, next week with at least 12 players ruled out of contention.
Ruddock is taking this weekend's Celtic League matches into consideration before finally naming his tour squad and with the current injury list in mind, there is now an opportunity for Welsh rugby's top flight players to impress the new coach and book themselves a seat on the plane to Argentina.
"Whilst it's never good to have players out of contention through injury this will give us an opportunity to look at different individuals and different combinations," said Ruddock.
"We need strength in depth in the squad and we have an opportunity to build on that this summer. This should make us stronger for next year's Six Nations and it will be invaluable to our preparations for RWC 2007.
"There will inevitably be some new faces in the squad, although I've always said the group of players I inherited from Steve Hansen was of the right standard and I have no thought of making wholesale changes.
"Those players that miss the tour will be put on full and tough fitness programmes and will benefit hugely from being able to put in a full pre-season once the injuries have been sorted out."
Gareth Williams (shoulder), Mark Jones (knee) and Kevin Morgan (knee) are all long term injury victims that Ruddock did not expect to be available.
"These players are still in recovery after surgery for each of there specific problems and have been on the list of those unavailable long term," said Wales team physio Mark Davies.
"It's possible that these players will be back in contention by late summer, but they will not be considered for the Argentina-South Africa tour. However, it's probable that they will all be in contention for the coming season."
However the following nine players have all joined the injury list more recently:
Gareth Cooper - exploratory surgery on his shoulder
Ryan Powell - Shoulder repair
Stephen Jones - needs further investigation, rest and rehabilitation to a back injury
Iestyn Harris - Damaged knee joint which requires 6-8 weeks rest
Jamie Robinson - Back injury requires surgery
Matthew Watkins - Kidney surgery
Mark Taylor - Knee, rest and rehab
Robin McBryde - exploratory shoulder surgery
Rob Sidoli - exploratory groin operation
"None of the above players will be considered for the summer tour in order to give them the required treatment to make sure they are also in contention for the start of next season," said Davies.
"There is also a decision pending in the next couple of days on Tom Shanklin who has a knee injury.
"This all means that we have between 12 and 13 internationals ruled out, which is more than we have had in the past. This was a World Cup year and
it has therefore been packed with activity for players, since the warm up games against New Zealand and Australia there has been no window of opportunity for players carrying injuries to fully recuperate.
"As a result we have a number of players who need to be attended to in order to ensure they get a proper pre-season under their belts.
"The plan is that everyone will recover well and we will have a full list to choose from for the November internationals and to take into next seasons RBS Six Nations Championship."
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