Wales set to be boosted for Ireland clash by return of fly-half Sam Costelow
Wales have received a boost ahead of their Guinness Six Nations clash against runaway title favourites Ireland with fly-half Sam Costelow back in contention.
The Scarlets number 10 was ruled out of Wales’ Twickenham appointment with England due to a neck problem.
He was hurt during the first-half in a 27-26 defeat against Scotland, going off before the interval and being replaced by Ioan Lloyd.
Lloyd wore Wales’ number 10 shirt at Twickenham, but Costelow is now on course to increase resources in that position and be available for Dublin on Saturday week.
Up and running
“He (Costelow) is looking good and trained this morning,” Wales head of physical performance Huw Bennett said.
But while Costelow is up and running again, Bath prop Bath prop Archie Griffin has been released from Wales’ Six Nations squad.
Griffin, who made his Test debut against England, suffered a knee injury during that game.
The Welsh Rugby Union said that the 22-year-old will continue his rehabilitation at Bath and that a squad replacement would be confirmed in due course.
Keiron Assiratti, Leon Brown and Dillon Lewis are the remaining squad tightheads, although Brown picked up a shoulder knock during the Six Nations opener against Scotland and was not involved at Twickenham.
Back Tom Rogers, meanwhile, will remain with his regional team the Scarlets following a chest injury sustained during their European Challenge Cup victory over Clermont Auvergne on January 13.
Wales, beaten narrowly by Scotland and England, are now preparing to face an Ireland team that has posted bonus-point victories over France and Italy in pursuit of successive Six Nations titles and Grand Slams.
And Wales have got it all to do, having not won a Six Nations game in Dublin since 2012, with one draw and four defeats their subsequent record.
Former Wales hooker Bennett added: “Ireland are well up there at the minute in the way they are playing. They have got an established group physically and they haven’t won 19 games out of 20 for no reason.
“We know the challenge that is coming up for us but every game for this group has been a challenge and a chance to prove themselves and it will be another opportunity.
“You have got to go out there and be ruthless, I guess, really back your gameplan, with an insight to play some rugby.
“We have got to be on top of our game in terms of trying to close them down and in terms of what they possess in their attack.
“I know it sounds pretty straightforward but give as few opportunities to the opposition as you can. You can’t be giving away penalties and easy outs and I am sure that will be a big focus.
“I think it’s playing for 80 minutes. If you switch off in an area of the game, you get penalised.
“They are very strong at the minute, which everyone is aware of.”
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