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Gatland faces a timely selection headache

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Warren Gatland will be able to call on a host of big names as he names his Wales team to face Ireland at noon today.

British and Irish Lions Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau, Liam Halfpenny and Liam Williams have reported as fit and available for the trip to Dublin in a significant boost to the Kiwi, set for his 100th Test in charge.

Gatland must now decide whether to stick with the players who have engineered a win over Scotland and a bonus-point defeat to England or introduce some of his stars for a match his team must win if they are to have any hopes of reclaiming the title.

The back three is particularly crowded after Williams, George North and Hallam Amos all played for their clubs last weekend, while Halfpenny was a late withdrawal from the England game. Biggar and Faletau are two weeks ahead of schedule but are light on recent game time.

Scrum coach Robin McBryde said: "It's nice to have headaches in a few positions. It's always good to have plenty to choose from and there's a competitive edge. It will be a tough call on a few individuals."

Ireland, meanwhile, will hope to have Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and James Ryan available for today's pivotal training session at their Kildare base.

Furlong and Henderson have hamstring issues and have not trained fully since coming off against Italy last Saturday week, while Ryan has a hip issue and sat out training last week.

Schmidt usually rules players out if they cannot train on the Tuesday before a Test match.

Belfast Telegraph


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