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Wales injury plague continues

2015-09-20 20:52

Cardiff - Wales' opening World Cup victory over Uruguay on Sunday came at a hefty price with hat-trick hero Corey Allen likely ruled out of the tournament and five other players left carrying injuries.

It was a hammer blow for Wales coach Warren Gatland, already deprived of star full-back Leigh Halfpenny and first-choice backs Rhys Webb and Jonathan Davies.

Allen scored three first-half tries as Wales took a 28-9 lead at the break. But the centre limped off 15 minutes into the second period.

"It looks like Cory Allen's done a signifcant hamstring injury, but he's going to be scanned tomorrow," said Gatland.

Medics had said "it looks like Cory's the one who has a significant tear in his hamstring and at the stage it looks like he'll definitely need to be replaced."

Full-back Liam Williams, the natural replacement for Halfpenny, also went off injured, but perhaps more worrying for Gatland is his front-row options.

Tighthead prop Samson Lee, making his comeback from a ruptured achilles tendon sustained in March, was replaced at half-time and loosehead Paul James after just 32 minutes, both complaining of tightness in the calves.

James' replacement Aaron Jarvis, also the back-up hooker in a 31-man squad boasting only two specialists in the number two shirt, played the last 20 minutes in major pain.

"Liam Williams got a knock on the thigh, Samson Lee and Paul James have got tight calves, and Dan Lydiate had a head assessment and has passed that so he's able to take a full part in training next week," Gatland said.

"Aaron Jarvis actually popped a rib cartilage as well, nothing that's too serious but he was in quite significant pain. He really dug in deep for the last 20 minutes on the field, maybe we'd have to go down to 14 men but he put his body on the line which is impressive for and from him."

Gatland admitted that there might be a hard call to make after the usual 24-hour assessment period.

"We may have to make a tough decision on the props," the Kiwi acknowledged.

"We're carrying five props and at the moment we've only got three who can take the field, and we have to have four, so we may have to make a difficult call and replace one of the props."

The Kiwi coach dismissed any link between the injuries and Wales gruelling training regime.

"Sometimes you just get a little bit of bad luck. Corey Allen's pulled a hamstring, the others look like they could be a week, or three or four days, with knocks, that's just what happens at this level.

"I don't think you can blame the preparation, look at Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb getting injured, they were just unlucky, it happens in this sport.

"We felt very happy with the way we prepared and trained, but unfortunately we've picked up a few knocks but that's rugby, that's professional sport, there's no doubt we'll pick a few more."

Gatland added: "We've been lucky, looking back over the Six Nations, to have gone through as one of the teams, in recent campaigns, that has been very, very lucky that has had very few knocks and changes.

"The medical and conditioning staff have done a brilliant job. Sometimes it happens that you go through a spate of picking up a few injuries and you just have to deal with that."

Gatland said Uruguay had proved capable competitors considering they are ranked 19th in the world and boast just four professionals in their squad.

"It was a very tough game, I think Uruguay made it tough for us right from the start, they scored a couple of penalty options which put us under pressure," he said.

"Apart from that we're satisfied to get the first win under our belt and get the win.

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