Wales delay team announcement
January 30, 2012
Wales boss Warren Gatland is sweating on injuries to Rhys Priestland and Dan Lydiate © Getty Images
Wales coach Warren Gatland has delayed naming his side to tackle Ireland in the Six Nations on Sunday to give fly-half Rhys Priestland and flanker Dan Lydiate a chance to prove their fitness.
Gatland was due to name his side for the Aviva Stadium showdown on Wednesday but the line-up will now not be confirmed until Friday in the hope that Priestland (knee) and Lydiate (ankle) can force their way into contention.
Fly-half Priestland was injured during Scarlets' Heineken Cup victory over Castres earlier this month while Lydiate had to be helped from the field during the Dragns' Amlin Challenge Cup victory over Prato the same weekend.
Both players have spent the week with the Welsh squad in Poland and team manager Alan Philips revealed that the signs were promising. "There's definitely an improvement in both players," he told BBC Sport.
"He's [Priestland] stopped limping about the place so obviously we'll have to see how it goes. I noticed Dan didn't have the boot on all day yesterday [Friday]. "They're spending three or four times a day in the cryotherapy and doing a lot of remedial work.
"We'll have to see how it is when we arrive home and back in camp on Tuesday. There's definitely been an improvement in them but whether it will be enough for next we don't know yet."
Former skipper Ryan Jones is in line to deputise for Lydiate while James Hook looks favourite for the No.10 shirt having come through his club Perpignan's latest Top 14 encounter at the weekend. However, veteran Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones remains another option having been added to the squad last week.
Centre Jamie Roberts is another major concern having not played since suffering a knee injury during Cardiff Blues' PRO12 victory over the Dragons in December. "We're looking after him a bit because we've got an all-weather pitch here which is not suitable for him and his knee," said Phillips. "But he's trained and came through it well. He's coming along nicely as well."
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