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Wales to release 6 players for URC action, confirm 1 Covid positive

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

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Wales boss Wayne Pivac has given permission for six United Rugby Championship players in his Guinness Six Nations squad – Rhys Carre and Dillon Lewis of Cardiff, Ross Moriarty of Dragons, Ospreys’ Gareth Anscombe, Scarlets’ Kieran Hardy and Ulster’s Bradley Roberts, who has signed for the Dragons next season – to be released to their regions in order to play in URC matches this weekend. 

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This is in addition to having Wales players from the Gallagher Premiership – skipper Dan Biggar (Northampton), Callum Sheedy (Bristol), Nick Tompkins (Saracens) and Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester) – head back their clubs in England for the upcoming action in that tournament prior to the start of the Six Nations.   

Exeter’s Christ Tshiunza is also out of the loop for the next while as he has tested positive for Covid-19 in the wake of his involvement in last Sunday’s defeat to Montpellier in France in the Heineken Champions Cup.

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Dragons back-rower Moriarty has not played since suffering a shoulder injury during Wales’ Autumn Nations Series defeat against New Zealand on October 30. He subsequently underwent surgery but has yet to play since that operation.

A WRU statement read: The following players will be released to their regions and are available for selection this weekend – Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets) and Bradley Roberts (Ulster Rugby).

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“They will rejoin Wales camp Sunday, January 30, to continue preparations for the first round Guinness Six Nations match against Ireland on February 5. In addition, Christ Tshiunza has tested positive for Covid. After returning a positive lateral flow test on Monday’s entry screening, he immediately went into isolation. A subsequent PCR test taken on Monday confirmed the result. He will now isolate as per government guidelines.”

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Pivac last week named three uncapped players – Ospreys duo Dewi Lake (hooker) and Jac Morgan (back row) alongside Cardiff’s James Ratti (back row) – in a 36-man Wales squad that will be skippered by seasoned out-half Biggar.

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