Six Nations 2018: Key Wales players may return for Ireland game

Six Nations: Ireland v Wales
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 24 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Key Welsh players could be in line to make their comebacks during Wales' next Six Nations fixture against Ireland.

Leigh Halfpenny became the latest player to be sidelined hours before Wales' 12-6 defeat against England.

However, George North came on late in the second half for his first appearance since he suffered a knee injury for Northampton.

Following the defeat, head coach Warren Gatland said more key players could return for their trip to Dublin.

Wales were still without Taulupe Faletau and Dan Biggar for their game against England, but Gatland revealed both could be available against Ireland.

"We will see how this week goes. It was good to see George [North] get a run out and I thought he looked pretty sharp when he was out there which was good," he said.

"Dan [Biggar] has started to do a little more so we will take a good look at him in training and Taulupe's not too far away.

"He will probably need a run out for Bath before we consider him so whether he will be right for a week or two, it will probably be a bit short."

Gatland added: "Leigh [Halfpenny] was walking around a bit on Saturday, his foot was quite swollen today, but we are hoping he will be alright in two or three days."

Other notable recent absentees included Liam Williams and Hallam Amos.

However both made appearances at club level over the weekend as they continued their recovery.

Lions back Williams played 63 minutes for Saracens during their 25-3 win over Newcastle as he continued his recovery from an abdominal injury suffered against Georgia last Autumn.

Dragons full-back Amos also impressed on his return as he was awarded man of the match during his side's 15-15 draw with Glasgow.

In addition to the short-term injuries, Jonathan Davies, Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Rhys Webb and Jake Ball have been ruled out of the whole tournament.

Looking to the World Cup

Josh Adams
Josh Adams was making just his second appearances for Wales

Before Halfpenny's late withdrawal, Wales had selected the same 15 for their trip to Twickenham as they did for their 34-7 win over Scotland at the Principality Stadium.

Gatland admitted he had considered changing the team, but insisted the it was a good experience for the less-experienced players.

"The good thing is that we have had lots of players who have learnt and the reason we kept the same selection, even though we were tempted to make changes, is we need to find out about players at this level," said Gatland.

"We are looking to build depth for the [2019] World Cup in Japan and a lot of players will have learnt a lot from this experience.

"The only way you find out is to test them under pressure so for a few of them they will know what to work on and we will learn about them as individuals."


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