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Patchell will be fine for World Cup, says Wales coach Gatland

The fly-half suffered concussion during the defeat to Ireland in Dublin.

Rhys Patchell is an injury worry for Wales ahead of the World Cup (David Davies/PA)
Rhys Patchell is an injury worry for Wales ahead of the World Cup (David Davies/PA)

By Nick Purewal, PA

Warren Gatland insists Rhys Patchell will be “fine” to travel to the World Cup despite suffering his third concussion in a year in Wales’ 19-10 loss to Ireland in Dublin.

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Fly-half Patchell failed a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) after being clattered attempting to tackle CJ Stander in the build-up to Ireland’s first try.

Head coach Gatland admitted Patchell will be assessed by the medics in the next few days, with Wales due to fly to Japan on Wednesday.

Wales have just two fly-halves in their 31-man squad, with Gareth Anscombe recovering from knee surgery and Patchell and Dan Biggar the two playmakers for the World Cup.

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Joe Schmidt (left) and Warren Gatland both have injury worries to contend with (Brian Lawless/PA)

Asked if Patchell will be ready to travel to Japan, Gatland said: “He’ll be fine for that. He seems okay in the changing rooms now.

“He’s just got to be assessed in the next few days. We’ll talk to the medics about that and see how he fares over the next couple of days.”

Patchell has endured a wretched run of injury luck, having fought off two previous concussions and a torn hamstring across the course of the last 12 months.

The 26-year-old has acquitted himself well in Wales’ warm-up matches, but now faces a race against time to be fit for the World Cup opener against Georgia on September 23.

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Dan Biggar is the only other fly-half in Wales’ World Cup squad (David Davies/PA)

Asked if he had any concerns with just two fly-halves in his squad, Gatland said: “Well, we’ll see how he comes out of the next couple of days.

“Yeah he definitely deserves some good luck because he’s gone well. And the ironic thing is that he went low and that’s often where the concussions happen, when players go low and the tackler gets hit by a knee or a hip.

“So that’s something we’ll have to keep watching on with World Rugby.”

Ireland were mightily relieved to find form and ease through with stellar half-backs Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton unscathed.

Rob Kearney, Tadhg Furlong and James Ryan bagged the tries as Ireland moved to the top of the world rankings.

Keith Earls suffered a possible thigh injury however, leaving head coach Joe Schmidt admitting the Munster star will need further assessments.

“With Keith, we’ve just got to wait and see if it’s okay tomorrow,” said Schmidt.

“He potentially could have played on, he feels like he could have but there’s no way in a game like that you’d keep him on.

“It just seemed like his quad, whether it’s a whack in the quad or just above the knee. He was uncomfortable.”

PA

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