WALES boss Warren Gatland says selecting injured Dragons captain Cory Hill in his World Cup squad is "worth the risk" – but says the lock has to hit fitness markers to get on the plane to Japan.

The 27-year-old has been selected in the 31-strong squad for the tournament along with Rodney Parade teammates Elliot Dee, Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty.

That is despite Hill not having played since suffering an ankle injury while scoring the crucial try against England in the Six Nations.

The Dragons skipper recovered to be named in Wales' World Cup training squad and was pencilled in for the first warm-up Test against England only to withdraw after complaining about a sore left foot, the same one he injured in the Grand Slam.

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The Welsh medical team rescanned his foot on Friday and it showed a previously undetected fracture that will rule Hill out of the Georgia opener and the key Australia clash.

However, the lock has been a mainstay of the Wales squad since making his Test debut against Australia in 2016 and the management have opted to select him at the expense of Bradley Davies.

"Cory is pretty important to the group with his experience and his lineout calling, and he did a great job as co-captain in Argentina last year," said head coach Gatland.

"We felt that it is worth the risk. The initial conversations were that he would be back for Australia or Fiji and I felt that if it was Fiji it might have been too much of a risk.

"That's why I have said there are some markers that will be put down, hopefully he hits those markers over the next few weeks and we know that we are on track for Australia."

The Welsh medical staff have liaised with their football counterparts and are confident that Hill will be fit to travel to Japan and battle Jake Ball and Adam Beard to be Alun Wyn Jones' second row partner.

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Gatland said: "Prav (Mathema, national medical manager) and the physio spoke to somebody from the FAW; one of their players had a more clean break and they got him back playing in 30 days.

"Cory this week goes down to Swansea to use an oxygen chamber and is on a plan now where we take the load off for a few weeks.

"The disappointing thing is that if we had picked it up three weeks ago then he wouldn't be far away and would possibly have been alright for this Ireland game, but nothing showed up on the original scan.

"They are confident that he will be up and training for that second game against Australia and he is a pretty good athlete, so we are not worried from a conditioning point of view.

"With a different type of player it definitely would have been a concern but he has been doing a lot of off-feet conditioning and will continue to do that."

Four Dragons got the nod along with wing/full-back Hallam Amos, who has swapped Rodney Parade for Cardiff Blues.

However, prop Leon Brown missed out along with Samson Lee with Gatland surprisingly opting for just two tightheads.