Wales' injury woes continue
INJURY UPDATE: Dan Biggar joined Wales’ already lengthy casualty list ahead of their Six Nations clash with England at Twickenham after the star flyhalf suffered a knee injury playing for Northampton.
The 30-year-old Biggar lasted just 20 minutes into the Saints’ 21-27 defeat by disgraced English champions Saracens on Saturday before leaving the field at Franklin’s Gardens.
Premiership teams have an agreement with England’s governing Rugby Football Union that spares leading Red Rose stars from club duty outside of designated international window weeks.
But the same arrangement does not apply to players who represent other countries, with Northampton well within their contractual rights to select Biggar just a week before Wales face England at Twickenham on March 7.
Saints boss Chris Boyd did his best to allay Welsh fears by saying Biggar’s injury was not serious, although he added he would have to “wait and see” before knowing the extent of any damage.
“I don’t think it is serious,” Boyd told BBC Radio Northampton. “He’s hyper-extended his leg in a collision and seems to be moving relatively okay.
“I don’t think he’s got any major structural damage from what I’m led to believe so it’s one of those ones we’ll wait and see,” added Boyd, who saw Northampton squander 12-0 and 15-8 leads.
Cardiff Blues’ Jarrod Evans would be in line to start against England if Biggar is ruled out given he was the back-up flyhalf for Wales’ opening three matches this Six Nations against Italy, Ireland and France.
Gareth Anscombe, who had been Biggar’s main rival for Wales’ No 10 jersey, was already a long-term injury absentee while Rhys Patchell of the Llanelli-based Scarlets is only now nearing a return after shoulder surgery.
Liam Williams, who can play at either fullback or on the wing, recently joined the Scarlets from Saracens after the London club were hit with a huge 105-point penalty for salary cap breaches that has ensured they will be playing in English rugby union’s second-tier Championship next season.
Wales coach Wayne Pivac also has the option of selecting uncapped Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit, the Scarlets’ Johnny McNicholl or Jonah Holmes in the back three.
Gloucester’s Owen Williams was ruled out by a hamstring problem shortly before the start of the Six Nations.
Biggar’s setback came just a day after Wales wing Hallam Amos failed a late fitness test on a knee injury before Cardiff Blues lost 6 -14 at Edinburgh.
Amos is not the only Wales wing to be sidelined at the moment, with Josh Adams out of the concluding two rounds of the Six Nations and powerhouse George North undergoing concussion protocols after being forced off in a 27-23 loss to Championship leaders France in Cardiff last time out.
However, the match itself may not go ahead as planned if Monday’s meeting of Six Nations chiefs in Paris decides that other fixtures in addition to the already postponed clash between Ireland and Italy in Dublin on March 7 need to be delayed as a result of the global outbreak of the coronavirus.
Saturday’s other Premiership matches saw Harlequins stun leaders Exeter 34-30 thanks to a last-gasp penalty try, while Leicester ended a run of five straight by Worcester in all competitions with a 14-8 win at Welford Road.