Six Nations 2015: Samson Lee rated 50-50 to make Rugby World Cup

Wales head coach Warren Gatland confirms Scarlets tighthead prop faces a race against time after suffering Achlles injury

By Gareth Llewellyn

Warren Gatland hopes that tighthead prop Samson Lee can still make this year’s Rugby World Cup after rupturing his Achilles against Ireland.

The 22-year-old Scarlets forward is due to have surgery next week after being carted off just 14 minutes into Wales’ impressive 23-16 win.

It’s a full rupture, which sometimes is a little better than a tear that rehabs and takes a lot of time. At least we know what it is, and hopefully we can get it right and we can see him back on the field as quickly as possible.

Warren Gatland on Samson Lee’s Achilles injury

Lee’s place in the starting XV for Wales’ game at Italy on Saturday has gone to Ospreys’ prop Aaron Jarvis, who also deputised in the win against Scotland last month.

Cardiff Blues’ Scott Andrews has been drafted on to the bench, but head coach Gatland will have to give serious consideration to his options for the Rugby World Cup in six months’ time.

And the Kiwi rated Lee as just 50-50 to make the World Cup, but admitted it would be down to the medics to determine whether he can make the squad, which is announced in August.

“He was going to be operated on yesterday, but he’s got too much swelling, so they are waiting until next week,” Gatland said.

“We have the two warm-up games against Ireland, home and away [in August], and then we have got Italy after the World Cup squad is announced.

“If he is up and running and in contention and things go well, he won’t be far away.

“Whether we take the risk in naming him without too much rugby, that is potentially a possibility. Really, it’s just down to the medics.

“For everyone with that sort of injury, it can be two or three weeks either side. I think he is a 50-50 chance at this stage.

“It’s a full rupture, which sometimes is a little better than a tear that rehabs and takes a lot of time.

“At least we know what it is, and hopefully we can get it right and we can see him back on the field as quickly as possible.”

With Cardiff Blues veteran prop Adam Jones calling time on his international career after failing to make the Six Nations squad, Gatland has been forced to draft in Exeter Chiefs’s York-born prop Tomas Francis, who is seen as a prospect by the Wales coaches.

As far as we are concerned he’s retired, so until he makes a different decision, for us we haven’t even discussed Adam Jones. He’s not in contention for us.

Warren Gatland on where he stands on veteran prop

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde revealed on Monday that Wales are open to a call from Jones, if he changes his mind on his retirement, but the Wales coaches will not be reaching out to the 100-cap international, who has played in three World Cup campaigns.

And Gatland reiterated Wales’ stance when it comes to British and Irish Lion and confirmed there had been no discussions among the coaches on reaching out to him ahead of the Italy game or the World Cup campaign.

“If Adam Jones wasn’t retired from international rugby, then he may very well be in the squad now,” Gatland added.

“But as far as we are concerned he’s retired, so until he makes a different decision, for us we haven’t even discussed Adam Jones. He’s not in contention for us.”

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