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Rees blow adds to Wales worries

Wales are continuing to play a waiting game with their injured players ahead of Sunday's RBS 6 Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin.

But another name has been added to the confirmed list of absentees after hooker and former Wales captain Matthew Rees suffered a calf strain during training.

Rees is set to be sidelined for two weeks, which would also mean him missing the Millennium Stadium appointment with Scotland on Sunday week.

Rees, 31, had been in a battle for the number two shirt with Huw Bennett, although World Cup hooker Bennett was already expected to start in Dublin and win his 50th cap.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has already lost prop Gethin Jenkins, World Cup squad hooker Lloyd Burns and locks Luke Charteris and Alun-Wyn Jones due to injuries as they prepare for a rematch of their World Cup quarter-final against Ireland, this time at the Aviva Stadium.

And Rees' injury is the latest blow for Gatland, with fitness doubts remaining over centre Jamie Roberts (knee), fly-half Rhys Priestland (knee) and flanker Dan Lydiate (ankle).

Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins said: "They are progressing, but how quickly we are not too sure. We will give them as much time as possible.

"We are hopeful of all the injured players recovering, but whether they make it is a matter of time. We will have a good idea of where we stand after today.

"They were in and out of yesterday's training session and did not do an awful lot. They are doing bits and bobs and (are having) rehab with the physios to get themselves fit as soon as possible. It is always a blow if you lose some of your best players, but we are quite lucky in what we have got.

"We would not have to make too much of an adjustment, but if you lose some of the players who have played as well as they have for us, it can be a bit of a blow. The other side of the coin is that it is an opportunity for other boys, and they would relish the opportunity to show what they were all about."


From Belfast Telegraph