Cardiff Blues trio James Botham, Willis Halaholo and Lloyd Williams have been drafted into Wales’ Six Nations squad for Saturday’s game with Scotland.
New Zealand-born Halaholo, who qualifies for Wales on residency grounds, was called up to face the Barbarians in November 2019 but suffered a serious knee injury just after being selected and was sidelined for 11 months.
He could make the bench for the trip to Murrayfield, with wing Hallam Amos, centre Johnny Williams, scrum-half Tomos Williams and flanker Dan Lydiate all ruled out following injuries in the win over Ireland last weekend.
Lydiate has been released from the squad after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in Cardiff and Wales have said the 65-cap veteran will undergo “a number of assessments and consultations” in the next few days.
Well what can I say been over 2 years since I have had the opportunity to be involved with the @welshrugbyunion always a massive honour and a privilege to pull on the famous red jersey even though it was short lived wishing boys best of luck for the rest of the @SixNationsRugby pic.twitter.com/WDtpbUgxUG
Amos and Johnny Williams are both sidelined because of head injuries, while Tomos Williams has a hamstring problem.
Scrum-half Lloyd Williams returns to contention after last featuring for Wales three times last autumn, when Botham – grandson of England cricket great Sir Ian – made his international debut, winning three caps against Georgia, England and Italy.
Elsewhere, centre Jonathan Davies is set to miss a second successive Six Nations game as he continues his recovery from ankle trouble, and wing Josh Adams remains suspended following a breach of Covid-19 protocols.
To compound Wayne Pivac’s midfield concerns, George North scratched an eye against Ireland, while Nick Tompkins is thought to have a shoulder injury.
On the plus side for Pivac, though, British and Irish Lions back Liam Williams is available again after completing a three-match ban. He was sent off during the Scarlets’ PRO14 defeat against Cardiff Blues last month.
Josh Navidi is Lydiate’s likely replacement, with Liam Williams looking set to replace Amos, Tompkins or Owen Watkin lining up in midfield and Gareth Davies taking the number nine shirt.
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