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Sunday, 2 February, 2003, 18:00 GMT
Williams out of Wales reckoning
Barry Williams
Wales have serious problems at hooker
Wales' problems at hooker were compounded when Neath's Barry Williams suffered a broken jaw in the Celtic League final.

The incident occurred when the Wales and Lions international tried to tackle Munster centre Mike Mullins, and the injury will keep the hooker out for six to eight weeks.

Ireland's selectors will be relieved to learn that Ronan O'Gara's ankle injury is not as bad as first feared, though, and he will be fit for the Six Nations.

Munster may still cite Neath flanker Brett Sinkinson for the stamp that caused the bruising - they will decide on their next move by Monday afternoon.

Jonathan Humphreys
Humphreys could be back onside with Wales
Williams' injury follows last week's news that Robin McBryde is out of the Six Nations openers after a toe operation.

Pontypridd's Mefin Davies looks certain to be the first choice for Wales, but coach Steve Hansen is short of back-up.

Andrew Lewis was the third hooker in the squad for the autumn internationals, but he, too, has been struggling with injury.

There has been talk of converting Neath prop Duncan Jones to the role, but that would be a long-term plan.

Wales may turn to veteran Jonathan Humphreys for the time being.

The 33-year-old, now playing with Bath in the Zurich Premiership, has not featured for his country since the World Cup game against Japan in 1999.

Hansen is due to announce his Six Nations squad on Monday.


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