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Cruel blow for Liam Williams as he is ruled out for Wales' November

By PA
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Liam Williams will miss Wales’ autumn Tests after suffering a collarbone injury on his Cardiff debut. The British and Irish Lions full-back was hurt midway through the first half of Cardiff’s United Rugby Championship victory over Munster on Saturday. He has undergone surgery and faces a recovery period of 12 to 16 weeks, his club said.

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Wales tackle New Zealand, Argentina, Georgia and Australia in November. Williams, who has won 81 caps, also offers Wales head coach Wayne Pivac an option on the wing.

Johnny McNicholl and Leigh Halfpenny would be likely full-back candidates when Wales continue their World Cup countdown. Halfpenny has not played for 14 months due to a serious knee injury, but he is understood to be closing in on a comeback for the Scarlets.

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Cardiff said: “Liam Williams underwent surgery last night [Monday] after suffering a collarbone injury. The Wales and British and Irish Lions full-back had impressed on his Cardiff debut before damaging his shoulder in a tackle at the 20-minute mark. Williams now faces a recovery period of 12-16 weeks on the sidelines following surgery.”

The 31-year-old made his Test debut in 2012 and has featured for Wales in their last two World Cup campaigns.

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Flankly 3 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

If rugby wants to remain interesting in the AI era then it will need to work on changing the rules. AI will reduce the tactical advantage of smart game plans, will neutralize primary attacking weapons, and will move rugby from a being a game of inches to a game of millimetres. It will be about sheer athleticism and technique,about avoiding mistakes, and about referees. Many fans will find that boring. The answer is to add creative degrees of freedom to the game. The 50-22 is an example. But we can have fun inventing others, like the right to add more players for X minutes per game, or the equivalent of the 2-point conversion in American football, the ability to call a 12-player scrum, etc. Not saying these are great ideas, but making the point that the more of these alternatives you allow, the less AI will be able to lock down high-probability strategies. This is not because AI does not have the compute power, but because it has more choices and has less data, or less-specific data. That will take time and debate, but big, positive and immediate impact could be in the area of ref/TMO assistance. The technology is easily good enough today to detect forward passes, not-straight lineouts, offside at breakdown/scrum/lineout, obstruction, early/late tackles, and a lot of other things. WR should be ultra aggressive in doing this, as it will really help in an area in which the game is really struggling. In the long run there needs to be substantial creativity applied to the rules. Without that AI (along with all of the pro innovations) will turn rugby into a bash fest.

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