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Henson ruled out of rugby World Cup after failing to recover from Achilles injury

Wales center Gavin Henson was ruled out of the World Cup on Tuesday after failing to make the team for the weekend's warmup match against England.

Henson had been struggling with an Achilles injury and coach Gareth Jenkins decided to rule him out of the Sept. 7-Oct. 20 tournament after omitting him for Saturday's game at Twickenham.

"It was a tough call but a call that was necessary and one we had to make sooner rather than later," Jenkins said. "He is disappointed, but I think he's realized he's been fighting a bit of a losing battle in the last month."

Gareth Thomas was selected at inside center alongside Tom Shanklin for his 116th appearance, and has the chance to become the first man to win 50 games for Wales.

James Hook, who has starred at No. 10 for Wales over recent months and can also play at center, was named among the replacements, with Ceri Sweeney and Gareth Cooper forming the half-back partnership.

"Inside center is one of the areas we are not absolutely clear about in terms of how our combinations are going to work," Jenkins said.

Jenkins added that Henson could still be called up if Wales needed to replace an injured player during the tournament.

"If his form is good and he's improved on fitness between now and September, then he'll have a chance," Jenkins said. "Anything can happen in a World Cup."

Lock Will James will make his debut at age 30 alongside Rob Sidoli in the second row, while veteran back row Colin Charvis will play at openside flanker. Michael Owen was named at No.8, with Alun-Wyn Jones at blindside.

"Will has impressed in training," Jenkins said. "He is not a young man at 30, but he is young in terms of rugby life. He has impressed everyone and has a real chance if he goes well on Saturday."

Jenkins, who has until Aug. 14 to settle on a 30-man tournament squad, called up Nicky Robinson and Robin Sowden-Taylor to the training squad to cover for injuries.

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