Wales to wait on Davies scan

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Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Wales will await scan results on star centre Jonathan Davies’ shoulder before taking stock of his autumn Test prospects.

Davies was hurt during the early stages of Clermont Auvergne’s European Champions Cup victory over Sale Sharks at Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday.

It completed a concerning weekend for Wales head coach Warren Gatland after Davies’ fellow squad centres – Scarlets’ Scott Williams and Cardiff Blues’ Cory Allen – reported hamstring and leg issues, respectively.

Gatland’s 34-man squad for November appointments with Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa assembled on Monday, with 26-year-old Davies among them.

“Jonathan had a bump on his shoulder and we are uncertain as to the extent of the injury,” Wales assistant coach Rob Howley said. “A scan has been organised for him.

“I watched the game. He created a fantastic try after he had done something to his shoulder. He has obviously felt some pain and come off immediately. We just have to wait to ascertain how bad that injury is.

“Our medical manager Prav (Mathema) spoke to him yesterday after the game and I sent him a text to see how he was and the extent of the injury.

“It is disappointing, but centre is a pretty attritional position now. It’s the nature of the game. It’s no different to other campaigns.

“We just have to get on and work with what we’ve got.”

Howley, though, played down suggestions that Wales might be facing a midfield injury crisis as the countdown continues towards Australia’s Millennium Stadium visit.

“Scott and Cory could potentially be fit for next week,” he added.

“We feel we have enough strength in depth in that position, and hopefully these players will come through.”

Juggernaut wing George North, who scored four tries in Northampton’s 34-6 Champions Cup demolition of the Ospreys two days ago, would provide Gatland with one potential midfield alternative should he be forced into reshuffling his plans.

“George went there (centre) last year against Australia,” Howley said. “It is something we have always said over the last 18 months to two years, we think George isn’t a bad outside centre.

“He did okay on the wing as well on the weekend, which was fantastic to see. He was back to his Lions form. It is an option for us if we need to go there.”

Less than a year out from Rugby World Cup 2015, Wales will test themselves to the limit next month as they chase a first victory over New Zealand, Australia or South Africa since 2008.

“You have to have the mindset of going in to win all four games,” Howley said.

“We have performed well against South Africa and Australia, but haven’t got over the line. It’s important this autumn that we do get over the line. That is our challenge.

“Being clinical and showing composure are the key ingredients over the next four or five weeks.

“When we get into those moments at the end of games, it’s important we are clinical and have got composure. That’s the biggest area that we need to improve for the autumn series, particularly against the southern hemisphere sides.

“That first game has always traditionally very difficult for us. It’s always been our Achilles’ heel, that first Test match.

“Once you have experienced that game and got your second wind it is going to be much easier next time, and we have traditionally found that in the last three or four years.

“That has always been the challenge. Warren has always talked about trying to manufacture that intensity in training, and that’s what we have said over the last six years.”

Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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