Shaun Edwards reveals Matthew Rees' Wales injury agony
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards says protecting Matthew Rees' long-term health outweighed all temptations to select the captain for the World Cup.
Hooker Rees, 30, has failed to overcome a neck injury and has followed medical advice to have surgery, ruling him out of rugby's showpiece event.
"It's obviously, from a rugby point of view, incredibly disappointing to lose your captain," said Edwards.
"But there are more important things in life than rugby."
Rees' chances of making the World Cup squad were rated at 50-50 by coach Warren Gatland on the eve of Saturday's second warm-up match with England.
Gatland had hoped to delay the need for surgery until after the World Cup in New Zealand, but the severity of Rees' injury has now become clear with the Wales medical staff fearing long-term and permanent damage if the hooker attempted to play through the pain.
Jones sympathy for injured Rees
Edwards revealed the injury had changed Rees' whole demeanour and acknowledged that the correct decision had been taken to air on the side of caution.
"Matthew's in such pain at the moment that [rugby] has to be secondary to his life," added Edwards.
"If you see Matthew Rees normally, he's always got a bit of banter and is laughing and joking. But at the moment he's walking around like he's not Matthew Rees because he's in such pain all the time.
"That ruins your life so he has to take the doctors' opinion and has to get it done because you can't live your life in such pain like that.
"We're all gutted he's not going to the Rugby World Cup and leading us, but just to see him back living a normal life without pain is the important thing.
"He's in agony. He can't sleep. He's just constantly in agony."
Sam Warburton has captained the side in Rees' absence for the last three Tests.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.