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Josh Macleod's joy and despair: Back row stretchered off at training 30 minutes after being told he would debut for Wales

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Wayne Pivac has revealed the incredible roller coaster of emotions experienced on Wednesday by Josh Macleod, the uncapped 24-year-old Scarlets back row who went from being told he would make a debut Test start this Saturday for Wales versus Scotland to suffering a serious injury just 30 minutes later that will now sideline him for at least six months.   

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The agonising setback for Macleod was the latest serious injury to affect Wales. With Dan Lydiate, who started last Sunday’s win over Ireland, having torn his ACL and his replacement Josh Navidi having hurt his neck, Macleod was all set to start at Murrayfield as the next blindside up. 

However, Macleod went from hero to zero in the space of a midweek half-hour and his place as the Wales No6 versus the Scots has now gone to Aaron Wainwright, who had originally been told he would start from the bench in Edinburgh. Wainwright’s spot in the replacements has now gone to James Botham.  

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Wayne Pivac on Wales’ mounting injury situation

“It has been a couple of days trying to put it together,” said Pivac about finalising an XV that contains five injury-enforced changes from last Sunday. “Injuries of any description are not pleasant for players. No one wants injuries but it is part and parcel of the game. 

“The most disappointing is probably young Josh McLeod, who missed the last squad through being injured in a club game the day before coming in. Then yesterday [Wednesday] to be named in front of his peers and have them celebrate and give him a pat on the back, for him to go training half an hour later to be stretchered off was not great for him, not great for any of us. 

“Really saddened for Josh. A debut against Scotland would have been something he had dreamt of. It’s a serious injury, an achilles, but there was no contact involved in that. It was just one of those things in a training session. I’m guessing it’s going to be about six months.”

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George North, Johnny Williams, Hallam Amos and Tomos Williams were the other quartet from last week’s starters to miss out on round two through injury, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Liam Williams and Gareth Davies all making the step-up. 

North’s absence wasn’t even due to the eye injury suffered against the Irish – he had recovered from that and was instead ruled out with a foot injury which Pivac is hopeful won’t keep him from being available for the round three meeting versus England.  

“I think we have got about 21 players unavailable from the first Six Nations,” reckoned Pivac, reflecting on the lengthy Wales casualty list. “It is a high number. I haven’t gone through the list to look at any patterns or anything like that. The medical boys will always do that in due course but it is a high number. I don’t know how that compares with other countries, though.  

“It happens from time to time and just got to box on, you can’t dwell on it. One man’s misfortune is an opportunity for somebody else.”

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Those opportunities won’t extend to either Rhys Webb or Jamie Roberts this weekend. Webb had told Pivac he didn’t want to be third choice scrum-half, which is why Lloyd Williams is on the bench at Murrayfield after Davies was promoted to start in place of the injured Tomos Williams. 

Pivac added that he had been in contact with veteran Jamie Roberts, who has been in good form at Dragons, to let him know where he stands but the coach felt the uncapped Willis Halaholo was the best option for Wales to include on this weekend’s bench.     

 

 

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Josh Macleod's joy and despair: Back row stretchered off at training 30 minutes after being told he would debut for Wales

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