Six Nations news wrap

 Mar 12,2013
Written by: Editor

Wales captain Ryan Jones has been ruled out of Saturday's Six Nations decider against England with a shoulder injury.

Jones broke a bone in his shoulder during Wales victory over Scotland last weekend and was forced to leave the field, with an initial estimation on his recovery placed at six to eight weeks.

Scotland lock Richie Gray's hopes of making the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia are in the balance after it was revealed he'll be sidelined for eight weeks with a hamstring injury.

Gray was stretchered off during the 28-18 loss against Wales on Saturday and tests on the injury on Monday showed he won't be back in action before May, meaning he will be absent for Scotland's final Six Nations match against France in Paris on Saturday.

France coach Philippe Saint-André insists that despite a dreadful Six Nations campaign, he is staying on as originally planned until the 2015 World Cup.

Under Saint-André France are on a seven-match winless run in the Six Nations, equalling the record of their 1926-27 predecessors, but the former France captain remained defiant.

He was especially incensed by remarks he made last week and which had been taken out of context to imply that he would step down if they lost to Ireland.

"I will of course as is my nature assume total responsibility and take the blame for the campaign," he said.

"However, I am here till 2015 and I will not be leaving, quite the contrary.

"I would ask of you not to take three words from a sentence and give them a meaning that is not intended.

"The Federation and the committee director gave us a target to prepare for 2015. We will continue to work towards that objective.

"I take the responsibility because I have always done that, I have never tried to shift it on to others in my career.

"Rugby at the highest level is to be a competitor. The more difficult it is the more I like it."

England coach Stuart Lancaster believes that Chris Ashton still warrants selection despite being criticised for a lack of form.

Ashton was one of England's try scorers in the opening Six Nations match against Scotland, but has since struggled to cross the whitewash.

Having racked up 15 tries in his first 18 Tests, the Saracens winger now only has two in his last 16 appearances.

"I don't think Chris has been given any special favours," said Lancaster.

"I don't buy the fact that he is badly out of form. No player had an error-free game on Sunday. Chris did what Chris does well and got into a position where a tip-on pass from Mike Brown would have seen him in under the posts.

"Most wingers would not get themselves in positions to do those things. He didn't quite get across the line but sometimes it is not his fault.

"We certainly did dip in effectiveness at the weekend but we did create opportunities. Finishing is the issue."

Ireland have delayed their team announcement for Saturday's clash with Italy by 48 hours as they struggle to cope with a growing injury list.

Veteran centre Brian O'Driscoll's participation is in doubt after he suffered concussion, a lacerated ear and a dead leg in the 13-13 draw with France.

O'Driscoll's midfield partner Luke Marshall was also concussed in Dublin and is similarly being observed under IRB's concussion guidelines while lock Donnacha Ryan took a knock to his shoulder and will only take part in modified training this week.

Leinster back Fergus McFadden has been ruled out for between three to six weeks with a fractured rib while Eoin Reddan was set for surgery on his fractured fibula and ankle ligament damage on Monday.

As a result, Head coach Declan Kideny will now name his team for this weekend's fixture at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.


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