Wales release captain Sam Warburton for Cardiff Blues fixture
Wales captain Sam Warburton is one of 10 Red Dragon players released to their clubs on Tuesday following the loss to Ireland
Sam Warburton is expected to play for Cardiff Blues against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday as 10 players were released to their clubs today.
The 25-year-old flanker has played just 96 minutes since returning from a shoulder injury picked up against Australia in November and is lacking match fitness ahead of Wales’ crucial home match against France on 21 February.
When we look back, there was probably four of that forward pack that hadn’t had a lot of rugby in terms of Sam and Gethin
The Ospreys will also be boosted this weekend with six players also released for their match against Benetton Treviso, including half-backs Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb.
Meanwhile the Scarlets have forwards Samson Lee and Emyr Phillips back for their visit to Ulster on Friday night.
Speaking to WalesOnline, head coach Warran Gatland said: “When we look back, there was probably four of that forward pack that hadn’t had a lot of rugby in terms of Sam and Gethin, while Adam Jones hadn’t played a lot and Andrew Coombs hadn’t had a lot of rugby. We have released some players back that haven’t had a lot of rugby.”
Ospreys centre Ashley Beck and number eight Dan Baker joined the Wales camp this morning to train with the squad as Gatland looks to provide cover injury concerns, but the Kiwi also expects many of the released players to get game time this weekend.
He added: “We’ve also got to recognise the Ospreys are playing on Sunday and we have got a Friday night game against France. I have spoken to [Ospreys coach] Steve Tandy about some of the players we have released playing 40 minutes, while some will play a bit longer than that.
“We’ve got to be careful with the five-day turnaround that we don’t have too many players involved because it will severely hamper our preparation for France.”
Beck could find his way into the starting XV against France after Scarlets centre Scott Williams was forced off against Ireland on Saturday with an arm injury with Wales waiting on further tests to determine the extent of the injury.
With Jonathan Davies failing to come through a match for Scarlets two weeks ago, Gatland has resisted calls to switch wing George North into the centre, despite doing so following Williams’ injury, opting to field Liam Williams on the wing rather than use Perpignan utility-back James Hook who was on the bench, but didn’t feature.
Gatland has conceded that he needs to make changes and could deploy Hook or Biggar at outside-half to get their Six Nations defence back on track.
Wales released players: Samson Lee, Emyr Phillips (both Scarlets), Ryan Bevington, James King, Dan Baker, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb, Ashley Beck (all Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins, Sam Warburton (both Cardiff Blues).