/ Six Nations 2014

Wales facing up to injury crisis for Ireland clash

Updated: Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013 20:49 | Comments

Ireland won't have to face Rhys Priestland in the opening game on 2 February
Ireland won't have to face Rhys Priestland in the opening game on 2 February

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Ireland's first Six Nations opponents Wales say they are are adopting a "glass half-full" mentality to injury issues ahead of this season's championship.

Wales will kick off their Six Nations title defence against Ireland in 11 days' time without the likes of Rhys Priestland, Alun-Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris and Dan Lydiate.

But they are hoping for positive news about Ospreys forwards Richard Hibbard (shoulder), lock Ian Evans (knee) and back-row forward Ryan Jones (thumb) before the competition starts.

The Wales squad, complete with five uncapped players, assembled yesterday to begin preparations for a tournament that will see them play three successive away games between hosting Ireland and final weekend opponents England.

"Ryan was seeing a specialist (yesterday), and he is pretty positive," Wales forwards coach , Robin McBryde said.

"It is a waiting game, and no-one can ask the physiotherapists more than the coaches as to who will be well.

"Next week, we will have to make some calls in order to give the team the best possible opportunity in the first game. That applies to Ian Evans and Richard Hibbard.

"The glass is half-full, and until anything happens to the contrary we hope everyone will be fit."

"We have to make sure all members of the squad feel that pain and hurt as much as the coaches" - Robin McBryde

McBryde has underlined the deep desire to turn things around following seven successive defeats stretching back to last summer - four against Australia, plus losses at the hands of New Zealand, Argentina and Samoa.

"We have spoken to the players, and Rob Howley (interim head coach) has made it clear we are on the back of seven games without a win," he added.

"We cannot be happy with it. We have to make sure all members of the squad feel that pain and hurt as much as the coaches. The want to put that right has to be forefront in their minds.

"We have to take the hurt and pain we felt in the summer (Wales suffered a 3-0 Test series defeat in Australia) and autumn, and come out fighting, showing we are better than that."

Accompanying Wales' poor run has been another miserable Heineken Cup campaign for the Welsh regions.

The Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues managed just three wins between them from 18 starts in making pool stage exits.

But McBryde said: "This is a fresh page and regional form should not come into it. We are together, focused on getting a positive start to the Six Nations.

"The Six Nations is a tournament where expectation is on everybody, especially in the first game.

"Everyone is aware of form coming into the Six Nations, everyone is aware the regions are having a bit of a tough time. We have to put that behind us and focus on moving forward."

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