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Six Nations
Wales suffer Rees injury blow
ESPNscrum Staff
February 1, 2012
Wales hooker Matthew Rees in action during training at the Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Wales, February 22, 2011
Matthew Rees will miss the clash with Ireland © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Huw Bennett | Ken Owens | Matthew Rees
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: Wales

Wales have suffered a blow ahead of their trip to Ireland on Sunday with the news that hooker Matthew Rees will miss their opening clash of the 2012 Six Nations.

The Scarlets front-row missed the entire 2011 World Cup through injury with Huw Bennett and Lloyd Burns stepping into the void. And he will have to wait to pull on the red of Wales after being forced to sit out their trip to the Aviva stadium with a calf strain. The Scarlets captain faces a rehabilitation period of two weeks, according to the Welsh Rugby Union.

Warren Gatland has refrained from calling up a replacement for Rees so it will be down to Bennett and Ken Owens to fight it out for the starting berth. Burns is currently facing three months on the sidelines so is not an option.

And the news will come as a blow to Gatland who is already sweating over the fitness of Jamie Roberts, Rhys Priestland and Dan Lydiate ahead of the clash. Assistant coach Rob Howley said on Tuesday that he was still optimistic over the trio's prospects of facing Ireland. But Wales will definitely be without forwards Gethin Jenkins, Alun Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris for the match.

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