Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Williams woe causes worry for Wales

Warren Gatland acknowledges France are a force to be reckoned with

Wales will have to find answers in midfield after Scott Williams was seemingly ruled out for the remainder of the RBS 6 Nations.

The 23-year-old Scarlets centre faces surgery on a shoulder injury and could be out of action for up to three months.

A statement from the Welsh Rugby Union read: "Centre Scott Williams has been released from Wales' 2014 RBS 6 Nations squad due to injury.

"Williams injured his right shoulder in Saturday's defeat to Ireland and will require surgical intervention."

Williams was hurt tackling Brian O'Driscoll in the 17th minute of Saturday's 26-3 loss to Ireland.

His regional colleague Jonathan Davies would be one possible replacement but is still working his way back to fitness after a serious injury of his own and is unlikely to be ready to face France on February 21.

Davies suffered a torn pectoral muscle during Wales' autumn Test series opener against South Africa three months ago and Wales coach Warren Gatland said on Tuesday: ''We are not too sure at the moment whether he will be available against France. He is still not 100 per cent.

''He played that game for the Scarlets last week and felt a little bit sore, so we are trying to assess him to get up to speed in terms of lifting weights and contact.

"He is not there at the moment, so he is not available at the moment.''

George North moved inside to centre during the Ireland game with Liam Williams introduced on the wing, and t hat could again be the solution Warren Gatland opts for.

Wales face a potentially make-or-break home tie with Les Bleus, having beaten Italy and lost to Ireland in their two matches so far.

Second-row forward Andrew Coombs is confident his side can bounce back from the Dublin setback and end France's 100 per cent start.

Philippe Saint-Andre's side trail only the Irish in the table, with both having started with back-to-back wins.

But Coombs told "We're a strong outfit, we haven't lost many games in the Six Nations over the last few years.

"In sport you're always going to have bad days, it's the same as any other job, but hopefully we can turn things around against France.

"In last year's Six Nations we started poorly against Ireland but the boys went out and redeemed themselves and put right what happened the week before.

"It's important we get the chance to play again and do the jersey justice.

"Everybody's hurting and I think that's a good thing - we let ourselves down at the weekend and we need to be positive moving forward.

"We need to throw everything at France now. We're still the same side who beat England (30-3) last year - we need to get that form back and play well on the day."

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