The squads are slowly being announced ahead of the start of the tournament in September

Rugby World Cup squads are a huge discussion point ahead of the tournament. Media and fans are already speculating on the non-selections and exciting combinations or who will be included or left out and there have already been a few shocks.

Wales have already had three blows to their squad. Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones and Rhys Webb have all retired, despite being named in the World Cup training squad. They aren’t the only nation to lose a player ahead of the tournament being held in France.

Related: Wales legends Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric retire

England are unlikely to have Ben Curry because of a hamstring injury. And France’s Anthony Jelonch is a doubt after suffering a knee injury in the Six Nations. However, there are some stars who are likely to be lighting up the pitches this autumn.

Arguably the world’s biggest star, France captain Antoine Dupont will be looking to replicate his heroics from recent seasons. Other big names to feature will be Ireland’s Johnny Sexton and Scotland’s Stuart Hogg before they both bow out of the game.

But how big are the squad sizes? Here’s all you need to know.

Rugby World Cup squads: How many players are included?

At this year’s tournament the squad size will be 33 players which is an increase from 31 in the 2019 competition. The change was announced in 2021 and was made as part of new player welfare initiatives.

In addition, there will be a minimum of five days in the run up to each game. This has seen the pool stage extended by a week.

International Rugby Players representative on the Rugby World Cup Board, Brian O’Driscoll, said at the time: “The game has become too physical and competitive for short turnarounds. All teams have found it tough, particularly those without the squad depth of the major nations.

“This is a positive step forward for the game and further demonstration of how International Rugby Players and World Rugby can work together towards better outcomes”.

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