Six Nations 2021: Wales duo Hardy and Biggar nursing injury problems

By Sports Desk March 04, 2021

Kieran Hardy has been released from the Wales squad after suffering a hamstring problem and Dan Biggar is also nursing an injury following the Six Nations victory over England last weekend.

The scrum-half scored a try in the leaders' 40-24 win at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, but also sustained an injury.

Hardy has returned to the Scarlets to continue his rehabilitation, with a weekend off to come before a trip to face bottom side Italy at Stadio Olimpico a week on Saturday.

Wales attack coach Stephen Jones said: "It's unfortunate [for Hardy] after having a wonderful performance against England.

"We've got three scrum-halves left who are good to go."

 Jones also confirmed fly-half Biggar is carrying an injury, but is "very optimistic" he can face the Azzurri.

Aaron Wainwright and Owen Watkin have been released to play for the Dragons and the Ospreys respectively this weekend. The duo will return to link up with the national team after featuring for their regions.

Wales wrapped up the Triple Crown with a defeat of the defending champions and lead France, who have a game in hand against Scotland, by five points.

France and Wales are set to do battle at Stade de France on March 20.

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    Fabien Galthie provided an encouraging update on Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack after France's key duo tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Six Nations.

    Les Bleus' preparation for the tournament has been hard hit by a host of contracting coronavirus.  

    Bernard Le Roux had to make 11 changes to his 42-man squad, with World Rugby Player of the Year Dupont, fly-half Ntamack and Bernard Le Roux among those who were unable to report for international duty.

    Galthie on Wednesday revealed the absentees due to COVID-19 are recovering well ahead of his side's opening game of the tournament against Italy at Stade de France a week on Sunday.

    The France head coach said: "We keep in touch with all the players from afar, of course.

    "We have good news concerning the players and their state of health and spirit and all are doing well."

    Mercurial scrum-half Dupont has not played since December 11 due to a knee injury and coronavirus.

    Galthie says the playmaker could return for Toulouse in their Top 14 encounter with Racing 92 on Saturday.

    "I have spoken to him: he is doing well. He resumed training two weeks ago," said Galthie 

    "He wanted to play against Cardiff but the match did not go ahead. Then of course he tested positive for COVID. But he is fine, and is still training. Today he had a test at his club and depending on the results he will play or not for Toulouse this weekend.

    "That is up to his head coach Ugo Mola and I have confidence in him he will take the right decision both for his team and for Antoine."

    It is 12 years since France won the Six Nations, but they are favourites to end that title drought this time around and that is music to Galthie's ears. 

    "I am very happy with this compliment, we’re very happy and proud to be labelled as favourites," he said.

    "We are very happy to hear all those positive comments. It's very rewarding, it's rewarding for our two-year work, it's rewarding for all the commitment of the players, the virtues of the team and their dedication on the pitch."

  • 'Never say never' – Pivac not completely ruling out Jones Six Nations return 'Never say never' – Pivac not completely ruling out Jones Six Nations return

    Wayne Pivac has not totally ruled out of the prospect of Alun Wyn Jones making another astonishing early return from injury to play for Wales in the Six Nations.

    Jones was not included in the defending champions' squad last week as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

    Dan Biggar was named captain for the tournament in the absence of the inspirational lock, who did the damage in a 54-16 thrashing against New Zealand in October.

    Jones incredibly recovered from a dislocated shoulder to skipper the British and Irish Lions in South Africa last year.

    Wales head coach Pivac says Jones is unlikely to play in the Six Nations, but there is a chance the 36-year-old could feature.

    "Never say never," Pivac said, adding: "It's Alun Wyn Jones. I probably wouldn't enter the conversation if it was anyone else, but the guy has broken so many records.

    "I honestly say that, I would never say never. But look, it'll be a long shot. Let's just say that.

    "Al is working incredibly hard behind the scenes, as you know he would, to get himself in the best shape possible for either the Ospreys or Wales."

    Stand-in captain Biggar echoed Pivac's sentiments as the holders prepare for their opening match against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 5.

    "I wouldn't put my mortgage on it," the fly-half said.

    "I don't think any of us expected [Jones] to turn up in South Africa in the summer, and he managed to get on the plane.

    "If there is anybody who has got a chance of being fit for some part of this tournament, then Al is probably the man. I wouldn't rule it out just yet."

  • England captain Owen Farrell to miss Six Nations with new ankle injury England captain Owen Farrell to miss Six Nations with new ankle injury

    England captain Owen Farrell will miss the 2022 Six Nations after suffering a new ankle injury, head coach Eddie Jones confirmed.

    The 30-year-old required surgery after damaging his right ankle during training with club side Saracens, who confirmed on Wednesday he will be sidelined for eight to 10 weeks.

    Farrell has not played since another ankle injury sustained during the November Test victory over Australia at Twickenham.

    The news is a significant blow to Jones' plans, with Farrell having been earmarked to play at number 12 and act as a guide for inexperienced fly-half Marcus Smith.

    "Owen has had his operation, so he'll be out of the Six Nations," Jones said.

    "[It is a] massive blow for him personally, but it's a chance for people to step up. It's an opportunity for other people to fill those leadership roles and an opportunity for other players to play for that number 12 jumper.

    "In today's rugby, it's rare that you have all your best players on the field. We're used to it.

    "Last night we had to leave the hotel because of a fire outside, so the boys are adaptable. They know how to get along with things and there's an opportunity there to build a little more leadership depth."

    George Ford had already been recalled to the squad following injuries to Farrell and Jonny May, who has a knee problem.

    England's preparations for the clash in Glasgow were further disrupted by a positive COVID-19 test for Joe Marler, while Courtney Lawes – among the favourites to deputise for Farrell as captain – has been sitting out training because of head injury protocols.

    The team were also evacuated from their hotel in Brighton after a suspected electrical fire nearby.

    England begin their campaign against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 5 before facing Italy in Rome a week later.

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