Rees ruled out of World Cup
August 15, 2011
Rees' absence will be a huge blow for coach Warren Gatland © Getty Images
Wales' captain Matthew Rees will miss the World Cup after failing to recover from a neck injury.
It was originally hoped the hooker would be able to postpone surgery on the problem, but the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) confirmed on Monday that he would have to undergo the surgeon's knife. And Prav Mathema, national medical performance manager for the WRU, said the decision was made to preserve the British & Irish Lion's career.
"The safety and longevity of Matthew's career is paramount, we are all very disappointed that Matthew will not be with us in the World Cup but his health is at the fore of our decision," Mathema said. "Matthew will not be available for selection after losing his race for fitness from a persistent neck injury.
"Following a series of injections and intensive treatment and rehabilitation the decision has been made to omit him from the squad to allow him to undergo surgery. The medical teams of both the Scarlets and the WRU concluded unanimously to proceed with surgery."
Wales' assistant coach Shaun Edwards added: "There are more important things in life than rugby and Matthew is in such pain it has to be second to his life. We are gutted he will not lead us into the World Cup but he has to take the doctor's advice because you can't live like that. He can't sleep and is in constant agony."
Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard has been officially added to the squad after fully recovering from shoulder surgery and reaching full fitness whilst in training at national squad headquarters. Hibbard will vie with Lloyd Burns - who started against England on Saturday - and Scarlets' Ken Owens for a place in the side to face Argentina on Saturday.
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