Six Nations: Ospreys wing Eli Walker adds to Wales' injury woes

Eli Walker


Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday 2 February
13:30 GMT
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Ospreys wing Eli Walker has added to Wales' injury concerns ahead of their Six Nations opener against Ireland on Saturday.

Walker is struggling with a hamstring injury which forced him out of Ospreys' final Heineken Cup game in Treviso.

The 20-year-old has ruled himself out of the Ireland clash but is hoping to be fit for Wales' trip to Paris to face France.

"It may be next week and France before I'm fully fit," said Walker.

"I've not been able to take part in full training, which has been disappointing, but I'm looking to push on.

"I'm in it for the long haul. It's great to have the call up and we are all working hard. It may be next week and France before I'm fully fit."

Wales are due to make a decision on two more Ospreys, Ryan Jones and Ian Evans, in the next 24 hours.

But Jones (thumb) and Evans (knee) took a full part in training on Monday.

"We had a really good blow out and we are going to wait to see how they react over the next 24 hours," said Shaun Edwards, defence coach, at mid-morning on Monday.

"We will then have a better idea of whether they are up for selection."

Walker, 20, has impressed in his first full season with the Ospreys scoring five tries in 13 appearances for Ospreys this season.

He caught the eye in particular with a superb solo effort in a 17-6 Heineken Cup win over Toulouse in December.

There was further evidence of his potential when his weaving run set up a late try as Ospreys clawed their way back to draw 15-15 with Leicester. on 13 January at the Liberty Stadium.

With Wales considering moving wing George North to the centre, interim coach Rob Howley revealed Walker could soon be given his chance in the Six Nations.

Former Wales captain Ryan Jones dislocated his thumb playing for the Ospreys in their Heineken Cup 15-15 draw with the Leicester Tigers.

Evans, who has not played since hurting his knee against Samoa on November 16, and Jones, are in contention to cover Wales' injury problems in the second row having been named in Wales' 35-man squad despite being injured.

"They trained and finished with quite a vigorous fitness session and they came through pretty good on that," said Edwards.

"Obviously with Ryan you would expect that because he has a hand injury, while it is different with Ian because his is a lower limb injury.

"We will see how Ian reacts and then make a decision in the next 24 hours."

Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies are all sidelined with injuries and Wales have called up Harlequins Welsh-qualified lock Olly Kohn to their squad.

Former Wales Under-20 cap James King, born in Australia, but raised in north Wales, has impressed for Ospreys this season, and joins Dragons lock Andrew Coombs and Cardiff Blues' Lou Reed as the other lock options.


Forwards: Scott Andrews (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Exeter Chiefs), Adam Jones (Ospreys) Paul James (Bath), Gethin Jenkins (Toulon), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Lou Reed (Blues), Ian Evans (Ospreys), James King (Ospreys), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), Olly Kohn (Harlequins), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Josh Navidi (Blues), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Blues), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Andries Pretorius (Blues)

Backs: Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), James Hook (Perpignan), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets) Alex Cuthbert (Blues), George North (Scarlets), Eli Walker (Ospreys), Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Lee Byrne (Clermont).

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