Wales will watch Hibbard situation

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Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Wales hooker Richard Hibbard has been warned that he is “jeopardising his position” if he plays for Gloucester against Aviva Premiership opponents Harlequins at Kingsholm on Friday night.

Hibbard was not considered for Wales’ Millennium Stadium appointment with Fiji on Saturday due to an ankle injury.

Under International Rugby Board rules, Wales then complied with a request from Gloucester to release him back to his club as he was not in Wales’ matchday squad.

Hibbard, though, was then named on Gloucester’s bench for the Quins encounter.

“Just to clear it up, Richard has been managed for the first two weeks of our training camp,” Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde said on Friday.

“He wasn’t able to take part in training on Monday or Tuesday of this week, therefore he was ruled out of selection. At the request of Gloucester, we’ve had to release him back because he is not in the (Wales) matchday squad.

“He has been named on the bench for them, and if you are on the bench that deems you fit and having to play a full 80 minutes. There is no such thing as just providing cover.

“I understand there are a couple of injuries with regard to the hooker position in Gloucester. However, if he does take the field of play, then obviously he jeopardises his inclusion next week (against New Zealand) from a fitness point of view.”

Hibbard, who has won 32 caps and was a British and Irish Lions Test player in Australia last year, would be a key part of Wales’ plans against the All Blacks, if fit.

“We take it as read from our medical team 100 per cent, and we back their decision 100 per cent,” McBryde added.

“Now, he’s obviously gone to Gloucester and ended up on the bench, so something isn’t right there. As for what isn’t right, that’s not for me to comment.

“You have got to take responsibility for your actions at the end of the day, and I am sure nobody is holding a gun to his head.

“He’s just jeopardising his position. If he goes and plays and re-aggravates his injury, well that leaves us with no choice to make really.

“As I say, we have managed him in the first two weeks of the camp. If he comes back and we have to manage him again at the start of next week, then that doesn’t make any sense at all. We have got to cross that bridge when we come to it.

“We have got a match tomorrow and the other two hookers (Scott Baldwin and Emyr Phillips) have been performing particularly well, so let’s see how the weekend pans out.

“But, as I say, Richard is jeopardising his position and we’ve got to leave it at that at the moment. Without knowing the full facts of what has gone on the other side of the bridge, it’s very hard to comment on that.”

Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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