/ Six Nations 2014

Wales await injury news on Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny

Updated: Sunday, 16 Mar 2014 13:15 | Comments

Leigh Halfpenny is watched by  Sam Warburton as he takes a penalty
Leigh Halfpenny is watched by Sam Warburton as he takes a penalty

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Wales look set to tour South Africa this summer without captain Sam Warburton and their most prolific points-scorer Leigh Halfpenny.

Confirmation of a major double setback is likely during the next 48 hours after further checks are carried out on Warburton.

British and Irish Lions skipper Warburton was hurt during the dying seconds of Wales' record 51-3 romp against hapless RBS 6 Nations opponents Scotland, and he left the Millennium Stadium with his right arm in a sling amid fears he had sustained a dislocated shoulder.

Full-back Halfpenny dislocated his shoulder when Wales' title hopes were destroyed by England seven days ago. He underwent surgery on Friday and faces up to 16 weeks out of the game.

Wales tackle the Springboks in Durban on June 14 and Nelspruit seven days later, although they will at least head to South Africa following a thumping Six Nations finale that produced seven tries - six of them after Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg was sent off.

And nobody epitomised a fiercely-determined performance more than prop Gethin Jenkins, who marked his record 105th Wales cap by silencing the doubters who surfaced after he was sin-binned for illegal scrummaging in successive Six Nations games against France and England.

"Sam has been playing so well, so it is a big blow, but I am sure he will come back strong, as he always does" - Gethin Jenkins

"It is great to finish the Six Nations with a win. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform after last week at Twickenham, and we put some good points on the board," Jenkins said.

"Even though I have been written off, I wanted to get out there and prove myself and help prove that we have the ability to perform against teams like that.

"I put the same effort in every week, but if people have their opinions, they have their opinion. The coaches have faith in me and the players around me. That's what matters, really."

Jenkins will be among the front-runners to captain Wales in South Africa if Warburton is ruled out, and he admitted: "We know it is going to be a very tough tour.

"We will think about that when we get to it, really. The boys have had the Six Nations, we will go back to the regions now and play there, then think about South Africa.

"Sam has been playing so well, so it is a big blow, but I am sure he will come back strong, as he always does."

Jenkins revealed that he declined Warburton's offer to lead the team out against Scotland.

"Sam did ask me, yes, but I was never going to do that. I led the team for my 100th cap," he said.

"For me, I wanted to concentrate on my game and concentrate on the team winning. The way it is going, the record won't be there for long. I think George (North) has got 40 caps, and he is only 21!"

Once Hogg had received his marching orders for a late shoulder-led hit on Wales fly-half Dan Biggar, Wales punished Scotland in ruthless fashion as North (2), Jamie Roberts (2), Taulupe Faletau, Liam Williams and Rhodri Williams scored tries.

But despite Wales posting their biggest home win since beating Japan 72-18 during the 2007 World Cup, they were left to rue defeats against Ireland and England that undermined chances of achieving an unprecedented Six Nations title hat-trick.

"It would probably have been more satisfying if there were 15 on the field for them (Scotland), but the way we put them away I think shows the quality we have got," Jenkins added.

"It was very pleasing to come off the field with a big score on the board. It doesn't happen very often in the Six Nations.

"I don't think we turned up as well as we can for the two away games this season, although I can't fault the last two home games we've had. We just haven't performed when we have gone away from home."

Wales coach Warren Gatland, meanwhile, led the tributes to 33-year-old Jenkins after he went past Stephen Jones' appearance record.

"I spoke to Gethin before the game about his record, and he said 'it's not about me, the team comes first'. That is typical Gethin," Gatland said.

"He has been great this campaign and it is pleasing he has been able to keep his body together and not pick up injuries, which has been an issue for him in recent seasons.

"He deserves all the accolades that come his way. He's a competitor. He gets grumpy in the week because he just wants to win. That is why he has been so successful."

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