Young set for debut with injury-hit Wales

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 19:40
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NEWS: Injuries could see promising Wales flank Thomas Young make his Test debut against Italy in this weekend's opening round of the Six Nations Championship.

The Welsh have suffered a double blow ahead of Sunday's match in Rome, with Bath forwards Taulupe Faletau and Luke Charteris both ruled out.

In No.8 Faletau's expected absence, Young could occupy a place on the bench at the Olympic Stadium.

Were he to face the Azzurri, 24-year-old Wasps loose forward Young would follow his father Dai, a former Test prop and now Wasps boss, in representing Wales.

Wales's likely starting back- ow against Italy could feature Ross Moriarty at No.8, with former captain Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric the flanks.

With Charteris out, Jake Ball is set to partner new Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

Faletau has still to recover fully from a knee injury suffered on December 24 while Charteris has a "slight fracture" in his hand, according to Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde.

Both Faletau and Charteris remain on course to face arch-rivals England in the second round of the Championship when Wales play the defending Grand Slam champions in Cardiff on February 11.  

"He [Faletau] is still progressing," McBryde said Tuesday. "It is still early days. Everything is heading in the right direction, really.

"[Fit] for this week? No, it will be too early this week.

"It is all about getting the balance right in that back row. We are in a healthy place at the moment, and whoever gets the nod, I am sure they will perform on the day," he added.

Wales last lost to Italy in 2007 and topped 60 points in winning their last two Six Nations matches against the Azzurri.

But with Italy beating South Africa for the first time in November, McBryde is taking nothing for granted against a team who've enjoyed something of a revival under new coach Conor O'Shea, the former Ireland fullback.

"Italy will come into the competition full of confidence having had a good result against South Africa, so they know they can perform on the big stage against a good team," said McBryde.

"They took it up-front against the Springboks. They got to a stage in that game where they thought they were in with a shout, and everybody raised their game."

Agence France-Presse

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Team P W D L Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0
France 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0