Richard Hibbard plays for Gloucester after Wales warning

Richard Hibbard
Richard Hibbard on the field for Gloucester during the 22-15 loss against Harlequins.
Autumn internationals: Wales v Fiji
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Sat 15 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC One HD, online, mobiles and BBC Sport app from 14:00 GMT; live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru & online; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles.

Richard Hibbard played for Gloucester on Friday despite being told he was "playing with fire" by Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde.

The hooker played seven minutes of the 22-15 loss to Harlequins despite being unavailable for Wales' Test with Fiji.

McBryde said on Friday that by playing Hibbard would risk a place in the team to face New Zealand on 22 November

But Gloucester's David Humphries said: "We agreed with Wales [on Thursday] that he would be sitting on the bench."

The former Ireland fly-half added: "We're not sure what happened overnight to change what was said.

"As far we are concerned, Richard had been released by Wales under regulation nine and was involved, as many other players who have been released will be this weekend."

International Rugby Board regulation nine states players can be recalled from international duty by their clubs if they are not named in the match-day squad.

Hibbard started in the 33-28 defeat against Australia in the opening autumn Test match.

He was not selected by Wales for the match against Fiji after a foot injury stopped him from training in the early part of the week, but he was released to Gloucester on Thursday.

Yet on Friday afternoon, McBryde said: "If he [Hibbard] does take the field he jeopardises his inclusion next week from a fitness point of view.

"We take it as read from our medical team and we back their decision 100%.

Bradley Davies and Paul James

"He's obviously gone to Gloucester and he's ended up on the bench, so something isn't right there.

"You've got to take responsibility for your actions. If he goes and plays and re-aggravates his injury that leaves us with no choice to make."

Humphries said he was surprised by McBryde's comments.

"It was a little bit disappointing," he added. "I'm not sure that is best played out in the media, especially as we had agreed previously with the Welsh management that he would be involved.

"Player welfare is a huge part of what we are trying to do, and as far as we are concerned Richard was fit to sit on the bench, otherwise he wouldn't have been here."

Hibbard will be unavailable for Wales' last Test of the autumn series against South Africa on 29 November.

The game is outside the International Rugby Board window and teams outside Wales do not have to release players. Only George North of the English-based players will be available for selection.

North negotiated his own personal release for Wales duties when he joined Northampton from Scarlets in April, 2013.

Saints were fined £60,000 by Premiership Rugby in December 2013, after North played for Wales against Australia outside the 2013 autumn window.

However Hibbard, Paul James (Bath) and Bradley Davies (London Wasps) will not be allowed to play for Wales.

The Wales team management have negotiated the release of France-based players Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips, Luke Charteris and Jonathan Davies for the Springboks match.

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