Wales suffer triple blow
INJURY UPDATE: Wales have suffered a triple injury blow ahead of their year-end Test against World Cup holders South Africa.
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will miss the remainder of the year-end Tests with a shoulder injury that needs surgery, which may sideline him for “months”, the Welsh Rugby Union said.
Both Jones and flank Ross Moriarty will require operations after they each suffered shoulder injuries in Wales’ humiliating 16-54 loss to New Zealand in Cardiff last weekend.
The WRU also added No.8 Taulupe Faletau had been released from the squad because of an ankle injury suffered during training at Bath, his English club.
Their absence represents a huge blow to Wales – who also face Australia and Fiji after Saturday’s encounter with the Springboks.
Jones and Moriarty could also yet miss the start of Six Nations champions’ Wales title defence away to Ireland on February 5.
Jones, by playing in his 149th Test for Wales last week, surpassed retired New Zealand captain Richie McCaw’s previous world record of most Test Rugby Union appearances for one country.
However, he left the field after just 19 minutes following a tackle on All Blacks fullback Jordie Barrett.
Moriarty then went off following a tackle by All Blacks forwards Nepo Laulala and Ethan Blackadder, with French referee Mathieu Raynal showing a yellow card to Laulala.
Jones also injured his left shoulder a mere eight minutes into the British and Irish Lions warm-up Test against Japan at Murrayfield in June.
However, the second row was back after just 18 days to lead the combined side during their series loss (one-two) in South Africa.
The WRU statement offered no hope of an equally quick recovery this time.
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“Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and back row Ross Moriarty underwent scans yesterday [Monday] due to shoulder injuries sustained on Saturday, in the game against New Zealand,” the WRU said.
“The scans revealed that neither Jones nor Moriarty will be able to participate further in the year-end Series, and will therefore be released from the squad.
“Both players will require surgery with an estimated recovery period of a number of months respectively.”
Faletau, set to join Cardiff next season, only linked up with the Wales squad on Monday.
Meanwhile, Cardiff flank Shane Lewis-Hughes and uncapped Ospreys forward Rhys Davies has now been called up by Wales.
Cardiff centre Willis Halaholo is set to re-join the Wales squad on Friday following 10 days in isolation after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Wales coach Wayne Pivac, who was without 20 players last week due to injury, illness and the fact the All Blacks game took place outside the Test window, is due to name his side to play the Springboks on Thursday.