Warren Gatland has been given a potentially huge injury headache seven days out from Wales’ massive Six Nations clash with England.
Gatland’s control of his WRU-based players meant 25 of the 31 he had used during the opening round wins over France and Italy were given this weekend off as they were not involved in the PRO14 matches featuring Scarlets, Ospreys, Dragons and Cardiff.
However, five of his six Test charges who play for English Premiership clubs were chosen to start league games, a situation that could have settled his out-half selection dilemma seven days before the Six Nations’ only two unbeaten sides face-off in Cardiff.
Having subbed for Gareth Anscombe in the first round win at France, Dan Biggar was the Welsh starting No10 in last weekend’s win over Italy.
?? Look away Wales fans ?
Dan Biggar limps off a week before Wales host England in the Six Nations.
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) February 16, 2019
However, unlike Anscombe who wasn’t involved with the Blues this weekend, Biggar was chosen to start Nortanmpton’s home game against Sale and he failed to hang around for long, limping off just w0 minutes into a match the Saints comfortably won 67-17.
The extent of the injury sustained at Franklin’s Gardens isn’t fully clear. Biggar’s left knee was already heavily strapped, as it has been in other recent matches, but Northampton coach Chris Boyd suggested his exit was precautionary and that he didn’t think there was any reason why Biggar wouldn’t be involved next Saturday.
“That was precautionary. He’s just irritated what was a minor thing so I probably don’t see too much in that. He just tweaked it again, he probably could have stayed on but that at that stage we thought we’d bring him out. I’m not a medical man but I don’t think there’s any reason that he won’t be (in contention for next week).”
Gatland will hope it won’t keep his player from training at Vale of Glamorgan in the build-up to the marquee fixture of Six Nations round three. If Biggar is a doubt, Gatland could possibly turn to Rhys Patchell to fill in as sub with Anscombe starting against the English.
20| Saints change…@ThomasCollins13 ?? Biggar
Re-shuffle; Furbank 10, Ace 15
— Northampton Saints ? (@SaintsRugby) February 16, 2019
Patchell return from a hamstring injury when coming off the bench in Scarlets’ Saturday evening PRO14 loss at Treviso.
Leicester’s Jonah Holmes, Wasps’ Thomas Young, Exeter’s Tomas Francis and Worcester’s Josh Adams were the other four Wales players who had featured for their country in recent weeks who were chosen by their Premiership club to start in the league this weekend. Saracens’ Liam Williams was the only English-based player rested.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now