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Louis Rees-Zammit faces Six Nations race against time

By PA
Louis Rees-Zammit - PA

Gloucester head coach George Skivington confirmed that Louis Rees-Zammit was a serious doubt for Wales’ opening match of next year’s Guinness Six Nations campaign.

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The flying wing was injured in Gloucester’s defeat at Leicester last week and faces a huge task to be ready to play against Ireland in Cardiff on February 4.

Skivington said after Gloucester’s 8-6 defeat of London Irish in the Gallagher Premiership: “He is unlikely to need an operation but his ankle is in a boot with the prognosis not forthcoming because we haven’t been able to receive the scans this week because of hospital delays.

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“He will certainly be out for a spell, it could range from two weeks to six months, and on that basis he could be joining the Six Nations late.

Skivington looked set for more misery when his side trailed 6-5 going into the final minute of the game against London Irish at Kingsholm but Argentina fly-half Santiago Carreras kicked a 45-metre penalty in front of a sell-out crowd.

The hosts deserved to win a dour match played in miserable conditions. Their pack dominated proceedings, although Skivington will be concerned that his side suffered two further injuries with forwards Santiago Socino (knee) and Alex Craig (wrist) leaving the field before the interval.

Lock Matias Alemanno scored the only try of the game to move Gloucester up to fourth in the table, with Paddy Jackson replying with two penalties for London Irish.

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Skivington said: “We had to make a lot of changes through injuries and illness so I’m really pleased that we stuck to our simple game plan as last week at Leicester we became very loose by changing what we set out to do.

“Our maul didn’t function at times as we would have expected to get a couple of them over the line.

“Santi (Carreras) is a world class player and he delivered under pressure. He made a hash of the conversion attempt but by then kicking the match-winner he went from zero to hero.”

For London Irish, their miserable record at Kingsholm continued. They have only won twice there in the Premiership, the last being in 2016.

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A second penalty from Jackson with nine minutes remaining put the visitors in front for the first time, although Carreras’ late effort left them with just a bonus point.

Exiles’ director of rugby Declan Kidney said: “We will have to look at the first 20 minutes as we were lucky to be only 5-0 down as we were trying to play Gloucester’s way and not our own.

“It was a massive defensive effort from us so it’s very emotional to lose in the last play.

“We know we are on an upward trajectory so it’s frustrating that we came so close as we worked incredibly hard.

“We were minus a few players but victories in the league are won with squads, so we had enough players with capabilities out there for us to win.”

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