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Williams set for sidelines spell

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Wales fullback Liam Williams could be sidelined for three months

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Wales fullback Liam Williams could face a lengthy lay-off after being injured at the World Cup.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says he thinks the Saracens player could be out for three months with an ankle problem.

Williams was hurt during a Wales training session in Tokyo last week, and had to sit out his side’s semi-final loss to South Africa, prompting a recall for Leigh Halfpenny.

Williams has since flown back to England to link up with his Premiership club, Saracens.

“I think he had surgery yesterday,” Gatland said. “I think it will be three months. That surgery takes about that long.

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“If we had made the final, he would still be here with us. In fairness to Saracens, they had agreed that. But if we weren’t, they wanted to get him back for surgery as quickly as possible.”

A three-month absence would sideline Williams from Saracens’ Heineken Champions Cup pool games and a number of Premiership fixtures.

Wales also kick off their 2020 Six Nations campaign under new head coach Wayne Pivac against Italy in Cardiff on February 1. Williams will be gunning to get back out on the paddock in time to make an impact for the first competition under the new coaching regime.

For now, however, there’s still one game left under Gatland’s reign.

Gatland revealed plenty at Thursday’s press-conference when quizzed about his time at Wales.

“It has been some experience,” Gatland reflected. I have said on a number of occasions I never thought I would have been in Wales for 12 years. I was lucky enough to have had a couple of sabbaticals with the (British and Irish) Lions and that was good for me mentally.

“I am very privileged to have worked with a group of coaches and backroom staff that we have been incredibly close over that period and that has made things so much easier in terms of the synergy and being on the same page.

“The players I have worked with, I have had about three squads over that period, and I have worked with some outstanding individuals and some players I have been very lucky to coach.

“Lastly, I would like to thank the Welsh public. They have been challenging at times but they have made it worthwhile in terms of just how welcoming they have been to me in Wales. They have been so hospitable and it is really like a second home for me in Wales and I am going to miss being there.

“You have to look forward and be excited about the opportunities – one more game – and start thinking about the next challenge and being involved in Super Rugby.

“This is an end of an era for a lot of people. We have a management meal tomorrow night, which will be our last one together. We want to make sure we enjoy that and hopefully Alan Phillips books a nice restaurant for us.

“For a number of players this will probably be their last World Cup game so there are a lot of people involved, not just myself. Players potentially whether they carry on their international careers, a lot of them realise this could be their last World Cup opportunity.”

Wales conclude their World Cup campaign by tackling New Zealand in the bronze medal match on Friday. They will be searching for their first win over the All Blacks since the in almost 70 years.

– with PressAssociation

Fans haven’t been happy with how World Rugby have dealt with England’s response to New Zealand’s haka on Saturday:

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Wales fullback Liam Williams could be sidelined for three months