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Wales without captain for title-decider

Ahead of their Six Nations showdown with England, Wales are dealt major setback with loss of captain Ryan Jones.
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2013 17:04
Ryan Jones (C) helped Wales to their Grand Slam victory in 2012 after defeating France [GALLO/GETTY]

Wales have been dealt a blow in the build-up to their title-deciding Six Nations clash with England, after assistant coach Robin McBryde confirmed on Tuesday that captain Ryan Jones will miss the match through injury.

Jones, who has captained his country a record 32 times, hurt his shoulder in the weekend win over Scotland at Murrayfield and had to go off in the second half.

"Ryan is not going to be available. He has broken a bone in his shoulder and he is now under the management of the Ospreys," said McBryde.

"It looks as though he will be out for six to eight weeks."

"There are quite a few sore bodies at this stage after Saturday, and we are not under any pressure to make any decisions at the moment"

Wales assistant coach, Robin McBryde

Sam Warburton, who led Wales to the Grand Slam last year, is expected to regain leadership duties against England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

However, McBryde says the issue will be discussed by the Welsh management staff, with lock Alun-Wyn Jones also believed to be in contention.

"That will be up for discussion," he said.

"There are quite a few sore bodies at this stage after Saturday, and we are not under any pressure to make any decisions at the moment.

"We will take our time and make sure the decisions are right in order to get things spot-on for Saturday.

"We are in a good place. Those decisions will come on Thursday."

Justin Tipuric is expected to be called up to play at openside flanker, with Warburton wearing the number six shirt.

Wales coach Rob Howley will announce his team on Thursday.

'A chance'

England are bidding to win their first Grand Slam since 2003, but Wales can pip them to the Six Nations title if they win by eight points or more.

A seven-point victory will also be enough for Wales, provided they have also scored more tries than England in the final standings.

"We are focusing on getting our performance right, getting that accuracy in the opening exchanges and not letting the occasion get too big," McBryde said.

"For us, it will be another day at the office. The game will unfold and the game will take care of itself.

"We've given ourselves a chance. It (the title) is not out of our reach, but first and foremost it is about winning those one-on-one battles - the breakdown, the set-piece. You break the game down.

"We've recovered well after a slow start against Ireland, and hopefully we can keep going from strength to strength."

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Source:
AFP
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