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Page last updated at 07:39 GMT, Friday, 4 February 2011

Six Nations: Banned Richie Rees' warning to Hartley

Richie Rees
Richie Rees is bidding for a place in Wales' World Cup squad

Banned scrum-half Richie Rees has warned England hooker Dylan Hartley to expect a tough time from Wales in Friday's Six Nations opener.

Blues scrum-half Rees was banned for 12 weeks for gouging Hartley during a Heineken Cup clash in December.

"Everyone knows Hartley is a bit of a fiery character - hopefully the boys can give him a bit of stick," said Rees.

Rees' suspension will mean he will miss the entire Six Nations Championship.

He now has set his sights on making a place in the Wales World Cup squad.

"It was a massive disappointment to have the ban I've had [until March 31] but I've got to deal with it now and get my head down," said Rees, who made is Wales debut against England in 2010.

Rees now wants to put the ban behind him and concentrate on getting back to the form that saw him feature in the Blues starting line-up.


"As soon as the verdict was announced I was massively disappointed and frustrated at how everything had worked out for such an unintentional contact. I just want to draw a line under the whole incident now," he said.

"Obviously the Six Nations is one of the competitions you want to play in, behind the World Cup. I've just got to carry on and get back to how I was playing and have got to get over it," added Rees.

"Rugby is a physical game - you've got to play it as you've always played it I suppose - but there is a line.

"It's going to be an emotional game on Friday night but I'm sure the boys will enjoy it and certain individuals will enjoy their physical encounters more than others."

Rees is now focussing on a return to rugby at the start of April 2011 with the aim of impressing Wales coach Warren Gatland and getting into the World Cup squad.

"I've got to carry on training and come back in the best possible shape I can to give myself the opportunity of being in the World Cup squad," added Rees, who will be targeting a comeback in the Blues' Magners League game against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

"That will give me five games with the Blues and a few warm-up games with Wales if things go right. I've got to get some game time and my main intention is to get in that Wales World Cup squad," said Rees.

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see also
Wales 19-26 England
04 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Wales admit Hook fly-half debate
03 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Relaxed Tindall ready for Wales
03 Feb 11 |  English
Davies calls for Hartley sledging
31 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Gatland questions Hartley value
25 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Blues turn down Rees ban appeal
13 Jan 11 |  Cardiff Blues

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