Wales have added two uncapped forwards to their squad to face Ireland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

The defending champions have drafted in Ospreys hooker Dewi Lake to provide cover for Elliot Dee, who has been dealing with a rib injury ahead of the key contest in Dublin.

Coach Wayne Pivac also added Dragons flanker Taine Basham to his pool on Wednesday, as Wales look to build on their emphatic 42-0 home win over Italy that opened their campaign.

Youngster Lake captained Wales at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship last year, while fellow 20-year-old Basham had been part of Pivac's first squad for the match against the Barbarians in November.

Both players have been training with the squad over recent weeks, but they are now available for selection. 

Dee, Owen Watkin and Gareth Davies are in contention to face Ireland having returned to training, though Josh Navidi (hamstring), Owen Lane (hamstring) and Liam Williams (ankle) are among Wales' injured players.

Leinster lock James Ryan has signed a new three-year contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

Ryan has made a massive impact for Ireland since his first call-up, scoring a try less than a minute into his debut against the United States aged only 20.

The 23-year-old has gone on to win 24 caps and played a huge part in Leinster's 2018 European Champions Cup triumph.

Ryan won back-to-back Pro14 titles in the past two seasons with Leinster and has been billed as a future captain of his country.

"I am delighted to sign an IRFU contract," said Ryan.

"A lot has been packed into the start of my professional career with both Ireland and Leinster, and there has been some great success and a few disappointments, but I am involved in two very exciting squads that want to be challenging for trophies."

David Nucifora, the IRFU high performance director, said: "James is still a young man but he has delivered consistent high-level performances for both Ireland and Leinster.  

"He is growing into a leadership role with the national team and has a big future for both Ireland and Leinster."

England wing Anthony Watson will not be fit to return for this week's Six Nations meeting with Scotland, forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has revealed.

Watson was missing with a calf injury as the Rugby World Cup runners-up made a dismal start to the campaign in France last week.

England were beaten 24-17 in Paris, failing to score a single point in the first half of a Five or Six Nations fixture for the first time since 1988.

Bath star Watson was expected to return for the key Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield on Saturday, but Proudfoot has revealed this will not be the case.

"Anthony felt it [his calf] again yesterday and we won’t consider him for Scotland," Proudfoot said on Wednesday.

The news represents another big blow for Eddie Jones' side, who will also be without Manu Tuilagi against Scotland.

Tuilagi limped off against France due to a groin strain, with the home game against Ireland on February 23 targeted for his return.

Wales full-back Liam Williams is set to miss the Six Nations matches against Ireland and France as he continues to be troubled by an ankle injury.

The British and Irish Lion full-back has been out of action since he was injured in training before the Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa last October.

Leigh Halfpenny donned the number 15 shirt in the absence of Williams in a 42-0 thrashing of Italy at the Principality Stadium last weekend and could get the nod again for a huge clash with Ireland in Dublin.

Wales will be hoping Williams is fit to return when they face World Cup runners-up England at Twickenham on March 7.

"He’s struggling a bit at the moment," Wales defence coach Byron Hayward said of Williams.

"It's probably a bit too early for Liam. We're looking at the fourth and fifth game in the Championship for when he'll be available.

"Certainly not [as soon as the defending champions hoped], but the boys went well last weekend, Leigh had a great game at full-back, though it would be nice to get Liam back, obviously."

Hayward did not rule out Williams getting some game time with Saracens before making an international comeback, saying in a news conference: "That will be governed by the medical team in terms of where he's at and how he progresses in the next couple of weeks. It's a possibility, certainly."

Robbie Henshaw and Peter O'Mahony come into the Ireland starting line-up to face Wales in the Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, while Max Deegan could make his debut off the bench.

Centre Henshaw will play alongside Bundee Aki after Garry Ringrose suffered a hand injury during a 19-12 victory over Scotland on the opening day of the tournament last weekend.

O'Mahony gets an opportunity in the back row, with Caelan Doris ruled out due to the head injury he suffered on his debut in Dublin against Gregor Townsend's Scots.

CJ Stander switches to number eight in the absence of Doris, with Josh van der Flier named at openside.flanker.

They are the only alterations to Ireland's starting XV for the clash with the defending champions.

The uncapped Max Deegan and vastly experienced wing Keith Earls feature among the replacements named by head coach Andy Farrell, who stuck to his approach of making an early team announcement.

Ireland: Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton (captain), Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Max Deegan, John Cooney, Ross Byrne, Keith Earls.

Manu Tuilagi will miss England's Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday due to a "low-grade groin strain".

Tuilagi limped out of the 24-17 Six Nations defeat at the hands of France at the Stade de France on Sunday, but was named in a 35-man squad for the showdown with Gregor Townsend's men.

Head coach Eddie Jones confirmed on Tuesday that the 28-year-old has been ruled out of England's second match of the tournament. but is optimistic he will be able to return against Ireland at Twickenham on February 23.

"Manu had his MRI scan last night and he has a slight, low-grade adductor strain. We're hopeful he'll be fit for Ireland. It's very good news, outstanding news," said Jones.

The Rugby World Cup runners-up are taking no risks with the Leicester Tigers powerhouse, whose career was almost ended by a groin injury six years ago.

Jonathan Joseph would appear the most likely take the number 13 shirt after coming off the bench to replace Tuilagi in Paris, or Elliot Daly could be moved inside from the wing.

Ollie Devoto and Fraser Dingwall are the other midfield options for Jones. 

 

 

Eddie Jones is convinced Tom Curry can be England's long-term solution at number eight after once again overlooking a specialist in the position for the Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland.

England began their Six Nations campaign with an error-strewn 24-17 loss to France in Paris, but head coach Jones opted to name the same squad for Saturday's trip to Murrayfield.

In-form Harlequins star Alex Dombrandt and Fiji-born Nathan Hughes once again miss out on an opportunity to stake a claim in the absence of powerhouse Billy Vunipola, who will sit out the entire tournament with a broken arm.

Curry was moved from flanker to play number eight and struggled to stamp his authority against Les Bleus, but Jones is set to persevere and backed the Sale Sharks back-rower to adjust quickly.

"I see him as a long-term number eight, so I am prepared to accept some mistakes for him to learn and become a better number eight," Jones said. 

"We don't have a one-game selection policy. Just look at players like [Ellis] Genge and how long it has taken him to be a Test player – four years. They have to go through this apprenticeship and sometimes they go through some pain at the start of it.

"I think he [Curry] can be a Rodney So'oialo type player: a mobile, hard-running number eight that has ball skills. We can't find another Billy so we won't go down that track – we will find a different sort of player.

"We want this team to be a great team. To do this we need to have the ambition to make players great players. Tom is one of those players we feel can be an absolutely outstanding number eight. But it will take time."

Jones, though, did admit he wants an injection of power from England – an area where Vunipola excels, especially at the opposition try line.

"That sort of attack has become a power game and we weren't good in that area," Jones added.

"In the World Cup final, we weren't good in that area and we weren't good there against France. It's an area we need to improve in.

"We need to find a way to get some more power because you've got to carry through bodies. We've got to find a way to have more variety."

Eddie Jones has overlooked Alex Dombrandt once again for England's Six Nations showdown with Scotland – but injured centre Manu Tuilagi is included in a 35-man squad.

In-form number eight Dombrandt did not make the matchday squad for the defeat to France in Paris on Sunday despite Billy Vunipola being ruled out with a broken arm.

Tom Curry was instead shifted to the back of the pack for the game at the Stade de France, with France running out 24-17 winners.

Dombrandt, who plays his club rugby for Harlequins, has not been included for the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield.

Tuilagi is on the list of players, however, even though he suffered a groin injury in Paris, leading to him being substituted in the first half.

The uncapped Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Alex Moon, Fraser Dingwall, Ollie Thorley and Jacob Umaga were also selected by Jones.

 

England squad

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Alex Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams.

Backs: Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Jacob Umaga, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

Finn Russell has been left out of Scotland's squad for the Six Nations clash with England at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The mercurial fly-half was axed for the 19-12 defeat to Ireland on the opening day of the tournament last weekend after being disciplined for a "breach of team protocol".

Head coach Gregor Townsend stated that the "door is open" for Russell to return to the squad, but he will not feature in the Calcutta Cup showdown with an England side smarting from a loss to France on Sunday.

Adam Hastings impressed after being given the nod to replace Racing 92 playmaker Russell and looks set to keep his place.

Wing Darcy Graham remains sidelined with a knee injury that ruled him out of the encounter with Andy Farrell's side at the Aviva Stadium.

 

Scotland squad:

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Fraser Brown, Alex Craig, Luke Crosbie, Scott Cummings, Allan Dell, Cornell du Preez, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Tom Gordon, Jonny Gray, Nick Haining, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Hamish Watson.

Backs: Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg (captain), George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Blair Kinghorn, Sean Maitland, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Matt Scott, Kyle Steyn, Ratu Tagive, Duncan Weir.

 

 

 

 

Gregory Alldritt says a warning from Eddie Jones added fuel to French fires as they started the Fabien Galthie era with a 24-17 Six Nations defeat of England.

England head coach Jones said a young France side should be braced for "absolute brutality" and to "understand what Test rugby is" at the beginning of their new dawn at the Stade de France on Sunday.

Jones might have been regretting those comments as Les Bleus scored 24 points without reply in the Paris rain, new captain Charles Ollivon getting a try in each half after Vincent Rattez's early score.

A sublime double from Jonny May gave England a glimmer of hope, but they could only muster a losing bonus point from an error-strewn display courtesy of an Owen Farrell penalty right at the end.

France showed immense physicality as they defended for their lives and man-of-the-match Alldritt revealed they were determined to show Jones what they are made of.

"Eddie was saying that we couldn't manage the brutality of the England team," said the number eight.

"But when you are a winner, a competitor, you just want to show him that you can manage that.

"Of course we read it. We were clearly going to put some fighting spirit out there."

Alldritt was also full of praise for the impact new defence coach Shaun Edwards has made.

The La Rochelle back-rower said: "Shaun is a tough guy and he always wants aggression from you, in every bit of work and in every tackle.

"He wants big tackles. And speed in the tackle. He is bringing a lot of experience to us at international level and a lot of competence too."

Fabien Galthie felt a fearless approach and "solidarity" was the key to his young France side starting his reign with a 24-17 Six Nations win over England

New head coach Galthie put his faith in youth after replacing Jacques Brunel and was rewarded when Les Bleus beat the Rugby World Cup runners-up in his first game in charge on Sunday.

New captain Charles Ollivon scored a try in each half after Vincent Rattez's first Test score, with Romain Ntamack booting nine points from the tee to put France 24-0 up in the rain at a raucous Stade de France.

Jonny May's magnificent double caused a few French nerves in Paris, but England could only muster a bonus point courtesy of Owen Farrell's penalty with the last kick of the game.

England bossed territory and possession but they were frustrated by a combination of 23 handling errors and heroic France defending, new defence coach Shaun Edwards having already clearly made his mark.

Galthie said: "The players won the game, their solidarity won the game.

"When England started to come back on the scoreboard, there was an arm-wrestling contest and we won it, our defence won it.

"But we also scored three tries, which is no small feat against a team like England in these weather conditions.”

Former France captain Galthie added: "We're in a very positive state.

"It's a victory for all the little details put in place and worked on by the coaching staff over the last couple of months.

"Our team is very young, in terms of age and in terms of experience, but we were not scared of making mistakes, we did not think we could be wrong."

Eddie Jones conceded England looked like they "forgot how to play rugby" during Sunday's Six Nations defeat to France, just over a week after declaring he wants his side to be the greatest of all time.

Three months after losing to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final, England were beaten 24-17 in an error-strewn display in the rain at the Stade de France.

The Red Rose bossed possession and territory in Paris, but made 23 handling errors and trailed 24-0 following a Charles Ollivon double, an early Vincent Rattez try and nine points from the boot of Romain Ntamack.

Jonny May's sublime double offered England hope, but they gave themselves too much to do and had to settle for a bonus point courtesy of Owen Farrell's penalty with the last kick of the game.

France were heroic in defence, the influence of new defence coach Shaun Edwards clear to see, in the first game of the Fabien Galthie era and England head coach Jones was left to rue a sloppy first-half display.

"It was one of those things, but full credit to the French. They played the conditions well. It’s like we forgot how to play rugby in the first half," he told BBC Sport.

"We were slow out of the blocks, we were sorry for ourselves and out of kilter, we let the situation get to us. But we took responsibility magnificently at half-time."

England lost Manu Tuilagi to injury early on and Jones felt the centre was sorely missed, along with brothers Billy (broken arm) and Mako Vunipola (eye).

"They have been playing like that for a while, they played really good rugby in the World Cup and Shaun Edwards will make them stronger," added the Australian, whose side face Scotland next.

"You miss good players and missing those three – the Vunipolas and Manu Tuilagi are difficult to replace – but we have to find ways around it. That is not an excuse for us. Manu was fully fit.

"It’s a good challenge, we are disappointed in our first-half performance but I have a lot of admiration for way we came back in the second. We have to pick ourselves up and go to Murrayfield and have a bit of fun."

Owen Farrell said sloppy England only had themselves to blame for an error-strewn 24-17 defeat to France in their first game of the Six Nations.

France made a dream start to the Fabien Galthie era at Stade de France, though England gave them a huge helping hand on a wet Sunday in Paris.

The Rugby World Cup runners-up dominated possession and territory, but a double from new captain Charles Ollivon after Vincent Rattez's early try and nine points from the boot of Romain Ntamack put clinical Les Bleus 24-0 up.

A brace of sublime solo tries from Jonny May set the nerves jangling, yet England could only muster a bonus point courtesy of Farrell's penalty with the last kick of the game.

Fired-up France were magnificent in defence, but it might have been a different story had Eddie Jones' not been guilty of 23 handling errors and captain Farrell had no excuses for a poor start to the tournament.

"They scored tries off a couple of our mistakes, we had the ball in our own half too much, we made too many mistakes and they capitalised." he told BBC One.

"They got a foothold, we kind of paused, we had a bit more in the second half but that's not the way we want to defend.

"It's not due to mental fatigue, we were excited to get together and we have to get excited about playing Scotland next week.

"They were more aggressive from the word go, the second half was a bit better but we left ourselves with too much to do."

New captain Charles Ollivon scored a try in each half as France started the Fabien Galthie era with a clinical 24-17 Six Nations defeat of sloppy England at Stade de France.

There was an air of optimism in Paris after Galthie picked a youthful squad for his first tournament as head coach and Les Bleus made a dream start to a new dawn in the Paris rain on Sunday.

Vincent Rattez scored his first Test try and Ollivon claimed a contentious second in a first half France ended with a 17-0 lead, England left to rue a string of handling errors in tricky conditions.

Ollivon went over again after the break and Romain Ntamack took his tally from the tee to nine points to put France 24-0 up after Galthie's men soaked up huge pressure with magnificent defence.

Jonny May set the nerves jangling with a brace of sublime solo tries and Owen Farrell booted seven points to earn a losing bonus point, but the Rugby World Cup runners-up - who lost Manu Tuilagi to injury early on - were made to pay for a lack of ruthlessness in the final third.

France were resolute and well drilled, showing the influence new defence coach Shaun Edwards already appears to have made, as they held on for a huge victory a year after letting a 16-0 half-time lead slip in their first game of the Six Nations against Wales.

Rattez - in for the injured Damian Penaud - raised the roof when he crossed just five minutes in after taking a clever inside pass from Ntamack, Teddy Thomas having cut England open with an initial incisive burst.

Ntamack added the extras and extended the lead with a penalty before Tuilagi's early departure gave England another headache.

Handling errors cost England and they were punished for not playing on when they were convinced Ollivon had knocked on before he raced away to touch down, the TMO awarding the try.

England continued to rack up the errors as they applied huge pressure either side of half-time but were unable to break through as resolute France defended for their lives. 

It was all England, but they were caught out again when Antoine Dupont scooted around the outside and whipped the ball inside for back-row Ollivon, who slid over for a double 15 minutes into the second half and Ntamack again added the extras.

Referee Nigel Owens warned both sides following a mass melee and England finally broke through when May showed a rapid turn of foot to get on the end of his own kick and dot down.

Wing May, who scored a hat-trick in a hammering of France last year, darted inside to go over for another brilliant score, but George Kruis was denied a third try when he charged through, so a Farrell penalty with the last kick of the game meant they would only head home with a solitary point.

Stuart Hogg apologised to his Scotland team-mates after the captain's "schoolboy error" proved costly against Ireland in Saturday's Six Nations Test.

Scotland went down 19-12 in Dublin but were on top for long periods as they chased a rare away win.

The visitors repeatedly failed to convert territory into points, though, with their most glaring missed opportunity seeing Hogg - the new skipper following Greig Laidlaw's retirement - drop the ball as he crossed the try line with the scores at 13-6.

"It was just a schoolboy error. I'm gutted with how that happened," Hogg told a news conference. "But I can't change what's happened now - I just need to get on with it.

"I've apologised to the boys, but what will be will be. We have to move on.

"It's bitterly disappointing to drop the ball over the line, but we got ourselves in some good positions there. After the forwards' hard work and effort, I'm bitterly disappointed not to finish it off."

Head coach Gregor Townsend could not hide his disappointment at the time of the error but added: "[Hogg] has played rugby for a long time - you make mistakes.

"You shouldn't be ranking whether someone drops the ball over the try line or drops the ball in their own 22, it's an error that you flush and move on.

"He was outstanding on the field today. I thought his energy, his decision-making, his kicking was excellent, and he's led the team really well the last two weeks.

"We will work to get better as a coaching group and a playing group. Stuart will bounce back very quickly from that."

Scotland are on home soil in their next outing, as they welcome England to Murrayfield on Saturday.

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