Wales in tug-of-war with English clubs

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 09:48
Large taulupe faletau 800

NEWS: Wales appears to be more successful that South Africa in the annual year-end tug-of war with European clubs.

None of the Springboks' European-based players are available for the encounter between Wales and South Africa in Cardiff this coming Saturday.

Flank Francis Louw (Bath) and No.8 Duane Vermeulen (Toulon), as well as Japan-based lock Franco Mostert (Black Rams), are not available this week.

In contrast, Wales is set to have British and Irish Lions star Taulupe Faletau available to face the Boks.

Confusion had surrounded the availability of Wales' top names for Saturday's clash.

The match is outside World Rugby's year-end international window and it was unclear whether any of Faletau, Owen Williams, Tomas Francis, Rhys Priestland and Jamie Roberts were available.

According to the WalesOnline website, Faletau's employers at Bath have released a statement saying their barnstorming No.8 will be allowed to play for Wales - even though the west country club runs the risk of a hefty fine, or the unlikely sanction of points deduction from Premiership Rugby.

However, flyhalf Rhys Priestland - a second-half substitute during last weekend's 18-33 defeat against New Zealand - hasn't been released by Bath.

Priestland is set to wear No.10 for third in the table Bath in Saturday's bumper west country derby against Premiership champions and league leaders Exeter Chiefs.

And he's likely to face Wales prop Tomas Francis. Exeter expects the tighthead to be with them, while Gloucester was adamant centre or flyhalf Owen Williams will be at Kingsholm for the Cherry and Whites fixture with London Irish.

Wales coach Warren Gatland also hopes centre Jamie Roberts, who was on the bench against the All Blacks, has a similar stipulation to Faletau in his deal with Harlequins and is available.

Wales also have to deal with injury problems - with lock Jake Ball (shoulder) out of the year-end finale, after suffering a dislocated shoulder against New Zealand and will undergo surgery.

Justin Tipuric sustained a quad injury in the game and has been released to the Ospreys for ongoing treatment.

There are doubts over scrumhalf Rhys Webb (concussion), centre Scott Williams (ankle) and prop Samson Lee (Achilles).

They are looking to beat South Africa for the third time in four meetings - having already lost to Australia and New Zealand this month.

Source: WalesOnline