Williams facing six weeks out
November 30, 2009
Shane Williams limped from the field against Australia © Getty Images
The Ospreys will head in to their Heineken Cup games against Viadana without their all-time leading try-scorer Shane Williams.
The winger suffered a torn hamstring in the opening stages of Wales' loss to Australia on Saturday and will be sidelined for four to six weeks. The injury also means that the region will tackle the Italians' challenge with only one scrum-half in the squad.
Springbok Ricky Januarie has been signed on a short-term loan deal due to injuries to Mike Phillips, Jamie Nutbrown and Tom Isaacs, with Williams originally slated to provide back-up in the No.9 jersey.
"Shane picked up a left hamstring injury during Saturday's game, something which was pretty evident to anybody watching the game at the time," said Ospreys physio Chris Towers. "The WRU organised a scan for him yesterday to look at the extent of the injury. Based on the findings of the scan, we could be looking at him being unavailable for a period of four to six weeks while he recovers from the injury."
Ospreys director of coaching Scott Johnson admitted that he would have to attempt to find cover for Januarie within the squad as he has been confirmed as the single change to the squad permitted by Heineken Cup regulations.
"It is always disappointing when you lose a player of Shane's calibre through injury, but this news is a particular blow for us given the current situation we have here regarding our scrum-halves," said Johnson. "To have lost all three of our named nines for the tournament is an incredible situation, which resulted in us having to bring in emergency cover in the form of Ricky Januarie last week.
"With tournament regulations meaning that we are only able to make one squad change during the pool stages, as well as playing in his regular position on the wing, Shane was going to have to provide our only cover at scrum half, so his absence is a particular blow. "We'll need to look internally at our Heineken Cup squad and investigate potential scrum half cover from within the 38 players named for Europe, in order to identify individuals who have the skill set to potentially play in this position. Obviously, this situation isn't ideal, but we will be working hard as a coaching team, and as a group of players, to overcome these obstacles."
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin