Welsh hooker's Six Nations dream shattered

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 19:52
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INJURY UPDATE: Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin has been released from Wales' Six Nations squad due to a foot injury sustained in training.

The injury will require surgery, with a recovery time frame of at least five months.

Scarlets hooker Ryan Elias, who made his international debut last year, and claimed two Wales caps, playing in both games on the 2017 mid-tear tour against Tonga and Samoa, has been called into the squad.

The 29-year-old Baldwin - who was infamously involved in an incident when a lion bit him on South Africa last year - joined a lengthy list of Wales players sidelined by injury, as they prepare to face Scotland in Cardiff on Saturday.

* Meanwhile Rhys Patchell has taken advice from an Irish great as he aims to be Wales' perfect No.10.

The big thing compared to years gone by is that I've just learned to worry about what's in front of you.

The 24-year-old has been selected to start in his favoured outside half position in the  Six Nations opener against Scotland at the Principality Stadium on Saturday. And the Scarlets playmaker has taken inspiration from former British & Irish Lions captain Paul O'Connell.

"The big thing compared to years gone by is that I've just learned to worry about what's in front of you," said Patchell.

"Interestingly, I was reading Paul O'Connell's autobiography last night and he was talking about winning the moment in front of your face and that's been a big focus over the past 12 or 18 months - just, on a daily basis, worrying about whatever I can look after.

"If it's out of my control, then it's out of my control but as long as I win the little moments in front of my face, things will hopefully go in the right direction."

Patchell will line up alongside 10 of his Scarlets team mates which he believes can give Warren Gatland's men an edge against an in-form Scotland side but only if he can hear them.

"We've been fortunate in how well we've gone this season and hopefully that sort of understanding can stand us in good stead," he said.

"Moving to the Scarlets has been a good move in terms of the development of my game and working with Steve has been fantastic. Playing in a team that is full of confidence helps.

"I've been quite fortunate that my move worked out and it could have been a different situation had it not. Hopefully that kind of understanding will stand us in good stead because the Principality Stadium is a very difficult place to play in terms of the sound.

"I know that probably sounds really daft but that was one of the biggest things that struck me in the autumn. How difficult it was to hear each other shouting and communicating on the field. So, hopefully, having a couple of familiar faces around the place will help things along at the weekend.

"There's a lot of body language that you have to pick up on, pointing and gesturing where you want the boys to be and then obviously just shout as loud as you can... and keep shouting until somebody gives you a thumbs up to confirm they've got the message!"

Source: @WelshRugbyUnion

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