Wales back Liam Williams could return for Six Nations
Wales back Liam Williams could be available for the Six Nations despite having his World Cup ended by injury.
The 24-year-old Scarlets wing or full-back had foot surgery in June and will need further surgery after re-injuring it in Wales' 15-6 loss to Australia.
Williams could now return early in the new year, ahead of Wales' opening Six Nations game in Ireland on 7 February.
"We won't see Liam this side of Christmas I wouldn't have thought," Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac said.
Williams played in Wales' opening World Cup Group A win over Uruguay, but was concussed in the 28-25 win that helped knock out hosts England at the pool stage.
He returned against the Wallabies after missing the victory over Fiji, but seven minutes from the final whistle was forced off with the foot problem that ended his campaign.
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Fellow Scarlet Scott Williams was also forced out of the World Cup through injury, with the centre suffering a long-term knee problem.
The 24-year-old damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in the 28-25 win against England and will definitely miss the 2016 Six Nations, although he has said he is hopeful of playing before the end of the season.
However, Pivac said it would be a bonus if the Wales centre was back in action this campaign.
"We're not expecting to see Scotty [on the field this season], if we do that's a bonus," Pivac said.
"With an ACL surgery they're usually somewhere about nine months, so if you do the maths it would be good if he does get back.
"With both Scotty and Liam Williams it's devastating blows really, because they are world-class players and for any side to lose a couple of players like that it's going to hurt."
Wales are already without scrum-half Rhys Webb and full-back Leigh Halfpenny for the Six Nations, because of the injuries they suffered during Wales' final warm-up game against Italy.