Wales braced for Halfpenny blow
February 1, 2011
Leigh Halfpenny is a doubt for Wales' opening game © Getty Images
Wales are braced for further injury woe prior to Friday's Six Nations opener against England, with winger Leigh Halfpenny awaiting news on an ankle injury suffered during training.
The Cardiff Blues wing, a British & Irish Lion in 2009, was carried from the field on Monday and it is understood that he was sent for a scan later that evening.
There has so far been no official comment from the Welsh Rugby Union, although the loss of Halfpenny could upset Warren Gatland's selection for a vital clash. The Kiwi coach is already without injured Scarlets wing George North, meaning a possible call-up for Morgan Stoddart if Halfpenny is sidelined.
Wales have already lost injured props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, centres Tom Shanklin and Andrew Bishop, plus banned scrum-half Richie Rees.
Ospreys fullback Lee Byrne remains confident that Wales can pull out a result in front of their home fans however.
"We are equally as good as a team, if not better," he said. "It will just come down to whoever takes their chances and makes least mistakes will win - it's as simple as that. Friday night at the Millennium Stadium, it doesn't get much bigger than this, and the boys are champing at the bit now to get it on.
"The first game is always the important one to win to get the momentum going. In 2008, we won at Twickenham, which gave us confidence going into all our other Six Nations games that year. We need to start winning these games - going close is not good enough anymore. We are on a bit of a losing run at the moment, especially at home, so we want to change that on Friday."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton