RUGBY : Lions Mike Phillips and Matthew Rees look likely to be major Wales injury concerns for their RBS 6 Nations opener against England.
Lions Mike Phillips and Matthew Rees look likely to be major Wales injury concerns for their RBS 6 Nations opener against England.
Scrum-half Phillips is battling to overcome an ankle ligament problem that meant he missed Wales’ entire autumn series, which concluded with a 33-12 drubbing by Australia.
The February 6 Twickenham clash appears too soon in his recovery process, while Wales boss Warren Gatland can only hope for good news surrounding Rees.
Scarlets hooker Rees was stretchered off during the first-half against Australia after suffering a suspected torn groin muscle.
He left the Millennium Stadium changing rooms with crutches in hand, and he was due to undergo a scan on Sunday.
Wing Shane Williams also faced a scan following his fifth-minute exit due to hamstring trouble, while a third first-half casualty – Williams’ fellow wing Leigh Halfpenny – received a dead leg.
But the good news for Gatland is that two more British and Irish Lions – full-back Lee Byrne and prop Adam Jones – appear on course to face England.
Byrne is expected back early in the New Year following a foot injury that has sidelined him from Test rugby since this summer’s Lions tour.
And tighthead prop Jones – the player Wales missed more than any other during their autumn internationals – is targeting a probable comeback from shoulder surgery around Christmas.