Six Nations 2015: Sam Warburton and Dan Biggar fit for Wales

Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton led the 2013 British and Irish Lions in Australia
Six Nations 2015: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: 14 March, 2015 Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, HD, Red Button, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

Wales captain Sam Warburton and fly-half Dan Biggar have been passed fit for the Six Nations match against Ireland in Cardiff on 14 March.

The pair were hurt last weekend in the 20-13 win over France in Paris.

Flanker Warburton had a bruised knee while Biggar took a blow to his hip, but both have returned to training this week.

"They'll be fit and available for selection," confirmed Wales assistant coach Rob Howley.

"Sam's contact was bone on bone. The medical word is contusion - I call it a bruise so same for both players [Warburton and Biggar]."

Warburton is now set to break Ryan Jones' Wales record for most appearances as captain, with the Cardiff Blues flanker due to lead his country for a 34th time.

Ryan Jones and Sam Warburton at the 2011 World Cup
Ryan Jones (left) will lose the Wales captaincy record to Sam Warburton on Saturday

Wales are without prop Paul James for the rest of the tournament after he fractured a thumb against Les Bleus.

Howley said losing the Bath man was a blow, but that Wales have no plans to call in cover at loose-head prop.

That means uncapped Scarlet Rob Evans, 22, looks set to be the replacement loose-head against Ireland with British and Irish Lion Gethin Jenkins expected to retain his place in the starting XV.

Howley said: "Obviously it's disappointing to lose Paul James with a fractured thumb.

"I think that he's [James] been one of our senior pros within the squad over the last couple of years and whenever he's been asked to contribute to a team performance - and we talk about the 23-man squad - he's been a good guy to have."

Howley was unable to shed any light on reports that lock Luke Charteris is out of contention for Racing Metro at the weekend because of a dead leg.

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Ireland come to the Millennium Stadium with a Grand Slam in their sights after beating England 19-9.

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions scrum-half Howley says a combination of experienced players, such as veteran lock and captain Paul O'Connell, and the work of coach Joe Schmidt has helped Ireland climb into the top three of the world rankings.

He praised the skill-set of the Irish team, adding: "The senior players have been around the international environment a very, very long time.

"So the combination of players and coach obviously has aided their performance to where they are third in the world."

Schmidt's side have their own injury concerns for the match at the Millennium Stadium, with Sean O'Brien, Jared Payne and Jonathan Sexton all doubts.

Should Wales inflict Ireland's first defeat of the campaign, then Gatland's side will go to Italy in the final round on 21 March with a chance of winning the Championship.

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