Alun Wyn Jones made a record-equalling 148th Test appearance as Wales suffered a 38-21 loss to France in Paris on Saturday.

By representing his country at the Stade de France, Wales captain Jones drew level with New Zealand great Richie McCaw as the most-capped international rugby union players in history.

He was unable to prevent his team from slipping to defeat against France, who will hope to take momentum from their first game since February into the Six Nations finale against leaders Ireland next weekend.

Dan Biggar sent Leigh Halfpenny over for the opening try and added a penalty to put Wales 10-0 up inside 10 minutes, but Cyril Baille and Antoine Dupont crossed to put Les Bleus ahead after the half-hour mark.

Dupont doubled his tally before half-time and, after Biggar and Romain Ntamack traded penalties, he set up Charles Ollivon to score after Josh Adams failed to control a high ball.

Nicky Smith dotted down as Wales made a quick response, but Teddy Thomas chipped over Biggar to seal the win with a stunning solo try.

Aaron Ramsey has withdrawn from the Wales squad to face Bulgaria and will return to Juventus.

The midfielder will not be involved in Sofia when his country play their latest Nations League match on Wednesday.

Ramsey captained Wales in their 0-0 draw with Republic of Ireland on Sunday, playing the full 90 minutes, but has been ruled out against Bulgaria with an unspecified injury.

He had previously missed the friendly defeat to England after a coronavirus outbreak at Juve.

The problem for Ramsey, who has started both of Juve's Serie A matches so far this season, was announced by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) on Tuesday.

That was also when the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) confirmed his club team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus.

Ronaldo is asymptomatic and "doing well", the federation said in a statement, and the 35-year-old has left the national team camp to begin self-isolating. 

Juve also have a concern over the fitness of Paulo Dybala, who has been ruled out of Argentina's match with Bolivia due to illness, having also missed their World Cup qualifying win over Ecuador last week.

The Italian champions return to action with an away game against Crotone on Saturday.

Five Republic of Ireland players will miss Sunday's Nations League clash with Wales after an unnamed player tested positive for coronavirus.

Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah were forced to miss the Euro 2020 playoff encounter with Slovakia on Thursday as they were deemed to have been in close contact with a member of staff who tested positive for COVID-19.

The FAI announced ahead of the Group B4 showdown with Wales that a member of Stephen Kenny's squad returned a positive test on Friday.

Another four players will not face Ryan Giggs' side due to having close contact with the individual who tested positive.

The FAI also revealed that the member of the backroom team who tested positive for COVID-19 in Bratislava on Wednesday may have received a 'false positive' result.

Two further tests carried out on that individual came back as negative and the FAI will discuss the issue with UEFA.

Ireland boss Kenny will review his options for a Nations League match against Finland on Wednesday following the meeting with Wales.

Jadon Sancho and Tammy Abraham are back in England contention again after missing the friendly win over Wales due to breaching coronavirus protocols.

Sancho, Abraham and Ben Chilwell were left out of the squad for Thursday's 3-0 victory after it emerged earlier in the week they had attended a party last Saturday.

The trio were at a surprise birthday party thrown for Chelsea striker Abraham, who insisted he had no prior knowledge of it and subsequently apologised.

British tabloid The Sun claimed approximately 20 people were at the event despite United Kingdom regulations prohibiting meetings of more than six people in social situations.

Sancho also took responsibility for his actions in an apology posted to his official Instagram account, with Southgate confirming the players would be missing for at least the Wales friendly.

Southgate said their availability to face Belgium in Sunday's Nations League encounter depended on them passing UEFA-mandated coronavirus tests two days before, and they were given the go-ahead to return to training on Saturday.

"Tammy and Jadon both trained this morning, so everyone is available," Southgate told reporters.

"They've obviously missed a bit of training, so that's a bit of a concern in terms of their load through the week but no, it [the punishment] is done, that situation is done.

"They are back with the group and we move forward."

Chilwell remains a doubt for Sunday's match, however, as he was unable to take the UEFA test on Friday due to a non-coronavirus related illness.

"So, Ben will be tested today and we have to wait for the results of that test tomorrow and then we can make a decision from there medically on that," Southgate added.

A player who impressed in Sancho's absence on Thursday was Jack Grealish, who set up Dominic Calvert-Lewin's opener on his first England start.

But Southgate was eager to calm comparisons between Aston Villa playmaker Grealish and Three Lions great Paul Gascoigne.

"I'm very conscious, I don't want to be dampening the enthusiasm for Jack, I always answer honestly about people, but when you talk about Gascoigne, there's not a player in English history at that level, in my opinion," he said.

"But I don't want that to be seen as a criticism of Jack. In many ways, Gascoigne was unique, such an incredible player, it's a bit like talking about Bobby Moore.

"I think what we have to say is, young players who come through, we shouldn't burden them with comparing them to someone else, their own talents are unique.

"I kind of understood some of the comparison, but I think Gascoigne was on another level to anyone else I played with."

Jack Grealish is a player in the mould of Paul Gascoigne but will struggle to dislodge the likes of Raheem Sterling from England's starting line-up, says ex-Three Lions boss Steve McClaren.

Aston Villa attacking midfielder Grealish made his first England start against Wales on Thursday and put on a man-of-the-match display in the 3-0 Wembley win.

One particular highlight was a gorgeous assist for debutant Dominic Calvert-Lewin to open the scoring in the 26th minute, while his general play on the ball was a real asset to England.

Grealish has also been influential for a Villa side who have won three from three in the top flight this season, scoring with each of his three shots on target, while he became the first player to have a hand in five goals in a Premier League match when his side thrashed champions Liverpool 7-2.

But still he has struggled to make the breakthrough on the international stage under Gareth Southgate and McClaren says the 25-year-old has to keep earning the trust of the manager as he offers the team something others in the squad do not.

"What a performance, he's really matured. He's the focal point of the Aston Villa team, he needs good players around him, and what Aston Villa have bought this season is good players," McClaren told Stats Perform News. 

"You saw him link up with [Ross] Barkley at the weekend against Liverpool and play two exquisite passes which no one else could play and see and we haven't got that type of midfield player, striker, creative player.

"We haven't had it for a long time, that Gazza type, he is that type.

"Yes he can frustrate at times, but he produces now, he's got end product, he can score, he can assist and it showed in the goal that Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored.

"So, I think he was a major plus. He's got to gain the trust of the manager that's the most important thing, and if he does that he should be in the England team because with good players around him he becomes a better player."

However, McClaren feels Grealish will have trouble nailing down a starting spot, particularly when Manchester City forward Sterling is fit again, due to Southgate's preference for pace in attacking positions. 

"Unfortunately, no [I don't think he'll be in the team]," he added. "Because when you play as you do, 3-4-3 or a 4-3-3, Gareth has gone for speed in the wide areas.

"He's looking at [Jadon] Sancho, Sterling, at [Marcus] Rashford, [Mason] Greenwood – he's looking at speed. 

"Jack hasn't got speed, he's got dribbling ability, he can glide by players, he can see a pass, he doesn't give it away, he can create, he can see things, so he's a different type of player, a different type of wide player. 

"Jack will be useful in terms of being on the bench and when you're 1-0 down or we need to win a game, bring Jack on because he can cause defences havoc whether he plays eight, 10, 11 or seven. 

"He'll cause problems, so he's a tremendous asset to have on the bench or in the squad. But there's still a long way to go before Jack Grealish becomes a permanent England player, still a lot to do."

McClaren was not surprised it took Grealish so long to earn a call-up to the national team, citing a lack of positional discipline during his formative years and the fact he is a "luxury player".

He likened the situation to the one experienced with Joe Cole when assistant to Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"He was a luxury player and you can't have luxury players, at Aston Villa you can't have a luxury players," McClaren said. 

"Sometimes it takes a while to mature and bring great discipline into your game, a lot of people talk about Gazza and the likes of Joe Cole and Joe Cole was exactly the same. 

"We used to play Joe Cole out wide, and he'd say 'why am I playing out wide?' And we'd say 'because Sven doesn't trust you playing in the number 10 because when we lose the ball we need some discipline to that and some shape'.

"By default he's had the opportunity and the key with everything, in the relationship between the manager and the player, is trust and obviously trust takes a long time to build up. 

"Especially in international football, you have to trust a player to do that job. Now he's started the process." 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's goals have taken his game to another level and the Everton striker can reflect on an "excellent" England debut, says Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.

England cruised past Wales 3-0 in Thursday's friendly at Wembley, Calvert-Lewin marking his international bow with a first-half header to make it 10 goals in seven appearances for club and country this season.

Conor Coady and Danny Ings also celebrated first international goals in a game which saw several players did their chances of further opportunities no harm, given this was England's most inexperienced XI since 1980.

Asked about Calvert-Lewin's performance, Southgate told ITV: "Yeah, excellent, I thought really very good. 

"He had excellent presence, his runs were a threat, he presses well, he obviously took his goal well, so I thought he could be really pleased.

"I think he's in a really good vein of form, he's an all-round centre-forward. I've always liked his general play but it's the goals that he's adding now that are making another level of player."

Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish was also handed a first England start and produced a delicious assist for Calvert-Lewin in an enterprising display.

Asked if Grealish has now jumped the queue in England's plans, Southgate said: "I thought his work with the ball was very good. 

"We know he draws those fouls, he's comfortable receiving in tight areas. I thought it was a debut he could be really pleased with."

England were troubled at times by Wales prior to Calvert-Lewin's 26th-minute opener but Southgate was content with the way his side grew into the match.

"I think the players did very well, it's so difficult for almost a completely new team to come together with not a lot of experience around it, so I thought they coped with that very well," he said. 

"It wasn't fluid at the start but the longer the game went on they got more and more into the game, solved the tactical problem Wales posed us when they were pressing and I thought we finished very strongly."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin described his debut England goal as the "stuff of the dreams" and insists he is ready to go whenever called on by the Three Lions.

The in-form Everton striker opened the scoring in Thursday's 3-0 beating of Wales at Wembley to make it 10 goals in seven appearances for club and country this season.

Conor Coady and Danny Ings also netted their first England goals in a good workout for Gareth Southgate's men ahead of Nations League clashes with Belgium and Denmark.

"Obviously it's a shame there are no fans here to celebrate and obviously my family aren't here to celebrate so it's bittersweet in that sense but to score on debut obviously it's the stuff of dreams," Calvert-Lewin told ITV.

"I've worked very hard to get here, it's felt like a very long road but I'm very, very pleased to be here and get the opportunity to score on debut."

Calvert-Lewin was replaced in the 58th minute to perhaps suggest further opportunities in England's Nations League encounters and the striker just wants to impress whenever given the chance.

"I don't know what that suggests, all I can say is I enjoyed the time I did play on the pitch and I'll be ready to step in if needed," he added.

Calvert-Lewin also paid tribute to Jack Grealish, who produced a pearler of a cross to set up his goal.

"He's a top player, I've seen it already," he said. "It's the first time I've played with him to see him up close and personal he's got bags of ability.

"I knew if he got in that position it was for me to hold my position and he'd get the cross in."

Wales skipper Ben Davies felt the visitors were brave in their play especially in the absence of stars Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

"They were clinical, I think we started well and I was happy with how things were going," he said. 

"The goal was a sucker punch, as soon as they were in good areas they created better chances than us. There were positives but we know we have to do better. We've seen how good England have been at it, we have to improve at that whole aspect of it, I'm disappointed at how we conceded the goals. 

"We were missing some of our best players, those who didn't play would get in most teams in Europe. It shows character in the team we didn't just sit out or come in with a negative attitude. I'm proud of the boys and the way we had a go tonight."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin grasped his opportunity on debut as an inexperienced England side defeated Wales 3-0 in Thursday's friendly encounter at Wembley.

With captain Harry Kane rested and Tammy Abraham one of three players alongside Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell absent for breaching coronavirus protocol rules, Calvert-Lewin was selected by Gareth Southgate to lead the line.

The in-form Everton striker headed home from Jack Grealish's sublime cross before Conor Coady doubled the lead eight minutes after the break.

Danny Ings then celebrated his first international goal, marking the first time three England players all scored a maiden goal in the same game since 1963, as the Three Lions completed a clinical if not textbook performance ahead of tougher assignments.

An England XI boasting just 54 appearances – the lowest since 1980 – started nervily and Kieffer Moore dragged a volley wide after a poor headed clearance from debutant Bukayo Saka.

But Calvert-Lewin marked a fine England bow by nodding home from six yards in the 26th minute when Jack Grealish, making his first Three Lions start, hung up a peach of a cross after tying Ethan Ampadu in knots.

The lead was doubled when Kieran Trippier – who became England's 123rd skipper in the absence of Kane – produced a fine free-kick that Coady expertly half-volleyed past Wayne Hennessey from close range.

Wales had no way back just after the hour when Tyrone Mings headed a corner back across the face of goal for Southampton striker Ings to steer acrobatically home with a lovely overhead effort.

Hennessey made a couple of smart stops to deny Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Ings late on to ensure no further damage for Wales.


What does it mean? England have striker options

For a long time, Kane has been England's solitary go-to up front but the form of Calvert-Lewin and more minutes and a maiden international goal for a revitalised Ings means Southgate now has plenty of striking options.

Dominic Calvert-shoe-in?

Calvert-Lewin has been in sublime form for Premier League leaders Everton this term and now has 10 goals in seven appearances for club and country. This was a deserved opportunity and if he continues in this form, he surely is a certainty for future squads.

Giggs' case for the defence crumbles

Wales boss Ryan Giggs will have been encouraged by a first half in which Wales caused England issues, particularly Cardiff City striker Moore who went off injured towards the end of the opening 45 minutes. But usually consistent full-back Ben Davies, who lost possession 12 times, was not always at the races and centre-back pairing Chris Mepham and Joe Rodon gave England's forwards far too much space.

What's next?

England now move onto Nations League Group A2 fixtures with Belgium and Denmark, while Wales face the Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria in Group B4 over the coming week.

Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham and Ben Chilwell will miss England's friendly against Wales on Thursday, manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

The Football Association (FA) launched an investigation after the trio allegedly broke coronavirus protocols by attending a party, which reportedly was held to celebrate Abraham's 23rd birthday and took place at the Chelsea striker's London flat on Saturday.

Coronavirus regulations in the United Kingdom currently prohibit meetings of more than six people in social situations, but British tabloid The Sun claimed approximately 20 people were at the party.

The FA delayed Sancho, Abraham and Chilwell from joining the team while they looked into the incident and it has now been confirmed they will not take part against Wales.

Southgate added that they will not be in contention for Sunday's Nations League meeting with Belgium either if they are not able to join the squad on Friday.

"I think the players have already accepted they were in the wrong. They had broken those lockdown guidelines that were there," Southgate said on Wednesday.

"I have to be careful being on my moral high horse about things that happen when we aren't in camp with the team.

"We do have an issue in terms of the COVID guidelines and making sure any player that comes in is as lower risk as possible to the group. We are having to monitor the players, they are being tested today and tomorrow, we have to check for further symptoms.

"They obviously miss the game with Wales. If they are not able to be with us by Friday morning, they will miss the game with Belgium.

"We just have to make sure to protect the whole group - that is key. The timelines on the incubation period are really complex and we have to manage that as best we can."

Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were sent home during the previous international break for breaching coronavirus protocols in Iceland and Southgate has reminded the players of their responsibilities.

"I don't think we can attribute what happens when they are the responsibility of their clubs to England," said Southgate.

"At the beginning of the week we had a good meeting with the players and spoke about the responsibility of being an England Player and how the spotlight is different.

"When the [Sancho, Abraham and Chilwell] story broke, there was no mention of their clubs. Whether they have one cap or 50 caps, it takes a lot of energy and time away from the team. The players in camp are 100 per cent focused on the game.

"If you are going into major tournament and it happens, then they can derail you. That did not happen in Russia and it allowed us to focus on our football.

"I have also talked about the connection of the fans and we have 10 with us who were in Russia. They have done good work with their clubs and communities, but some of the young ones have not done that and they need to prove themselves.

"They need to remember it is an honour to play for England. We have all made errors, I had nights out as player, but we are living in unique times with COVID. Politicians, businessmen have erred within the field.

"Fighting the virus, we need to work to pull together. There is a lot of disharmony now when before we saw people clapping the NHS and doing shopping for their neighbours."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been watching clips of Filippo Inzaghi to fine-tune his game after Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti drew comparisons between the strikers.

Calvert-Lewin has scored nine goals in six games this season for Everton, including two hat-tricks, in what has been a hugely encouraging start to 2020-21 for the Toffees.

Indeed, no player across Europe's top five leagues has scored as many goals in all competitions since the season began.

The 23-year-old's form earned him a first senior England call-up ahead of a friendly with Wales on Thursday and Nations League matches against Belgium and Denmark to follow.

Ancelotti suggested there were similarities between the styles of Calvert-Lewin and former Italy, Juventus and Milan striker Inzaghi, the 2006 World Cup winner who was one of Europe's elite penalty-box strikers for more than 20 years.

As a result, Calvert-Lewin sought out some old footage of Inzaghi, a winner of two Champions Leagues and three Serie A titles, to pick up some tips.

"Carlo's definitely had a positive influence on me," Calvert-Lewin said on Tuesday. "I think, for me, with the age I'm getting to now, I'm evolving as a centre-forward, I'm learning my craft and fine-tuning certain aspects of my game.

"Beforehand, I think I was guilty of doing a lot of my best work away from the goal. Now, I'm focusing on getting in between the sticks and putting the ball in the back of the net.

"I think that analogy from Carlo was just an emphasis on being in the right place at the right time, not to say that I'm a carbon copy of Pippo Inzaghi.

"But if there's elements of his game that I've been showing in my game at the moment, them one-touch finishes and being in the right areas and putting the ball in the back of the net.

"Funnily enough, he mentioned it to me before he came out and said it in the press, and I had a little YouTube of his goals, like a 15-minute reel of him. Obviously, a lot of his goals are one-touch finishes and he's got great movement.

"You can always learn. I'm still learning now, so I always try to take it in."

Calvert-Lewin would have been unlikely to be considered for Euro 2020 had the tournament gone ahead this year, but with the coronavirus pandemic pushing the finals back to 2021, he has a good chance of making Gareth Southgate's squad if he can keep up his form.

"My performances have got me here now," he said. "Consistency is key. If I stay consistent, I like to think I'd be in with a chance of playing in the Euros."

England boss Gareth Southgate has told Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood to make the most of a "period of reflection" after dropping both for the games against Wales, Belgium and Denmark.

A breach of coronavirus isolation rules while in Iceland last month has proven costly for Manchester City playmaker Foden and Manchester United forward Greenwood, but the England door will be open to them in future.

That means both could still play a key role for the Three Lions at next year's delayed Euro 2020 finals.

Foden, 20, and Greenwood, who turned 19 on Thursday, appeared to be shown in a Snapchat video posted by one of the women they were said to be socialising with at England's team hotel in Iceland, a meeting forbidden under the country's strict rules in response to COVID-19.

Both were sent home and missed a subsequent game against Denmark, with Southgate taking a dim view of the episode.

Speaking as he named a 30-man squad on Thursday for the October triple-header, Southgate was asked about the conspicuous exclusion of Foden and Greenwood.

He said: "They're two very talented players. I think with that happened there's two parts: one is we have to send a message to all the players in our teams at every age level that that sort of thing isn't how we do things with England, but then we also have to rehabilitate these two boys.

"Young people will make mistakes. I do a lot of work with the Prince's Trust [charity] who are brilliant at helping youngsters to get back on their feet when things haven't gone right.

"These lads have suffered now enough. We didn't think it was right - I think they need this period of reflection - but then that gives them the opportunity to get back on their feet with their clubs, enjoy their football again.

"They're both starting to play well again which is important. Then I can speak to them after this camp and it will just be about their form as to whether they're selected next time round."

Harry Maguire was recalled, the Manchester United captain having been picked by England and then dropped ahead of last month's games after he was originally found guilty of assault following an incident on holiday in Mykonos, Greece.

Maguire's legal representatives lodged an appeal, meaning the court's initial verdict was nullified and a full retrial will now take place at a more senior court, with Southgate saying there was "no reason we couldn't pick him."

England play Wales in a friendly on October 8 before Nations League games against Belgium three days later and Denmark on October 14, with all the fixtures being played at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate has left Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood out of the latest England squad after they were sent home from international duty last month but Harry Maguire returns to the fold.

Greenwood, 19, and Phil Foden, 20, were removed from the Three Lions' squad prior to the game in Denmark last month after it emerged they had ignored coronavirus-prevention protocols in Iceland following England's 1-0 Nations League win, a game in which both players made their senior debuts.

An Icelandic website had published a story where Foden and Greenwood appeared to be shown in a Snapchat video posted by one of two women they were said to be socialising with – the country's self-isolation rules prohibited such a meeting.

As such, they have been left out by Southgate for the upcoming friendly with Wales and subsequent Nations League games against Belgium and Denmark, though the England manager did stress that from now on their call-up chances will be judged on form rather than past indiscretions.

But Manchester United's Maguire is back in the picture. The centre-back was dropped in August after initially being found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and repeated attempts at bribery at a misdemeanours court in Greece.

However, Maguire's legal representatives lodged an appeal, meaning the court's initial verdict was nullified and a full retrial will now take place at a more senior court. The defender has since been back in action domestically for the Red Devils.

Greenwood's absence has provided an opportunity for in-form Everton striker Calvert-Lewin, who is enjoying a scintillating start to the 2020-21 season, scoring eight goals in five matches.

Included in that record is a pair of hat-tricks, scored in the 5-2 Premier League win over West Brom and Wednesday's 4-1 EFL Cup dismantling of West Ham.

There are also maiden call-ups for Arsenal talent Bukayo Saka and Leicester City's Harvey Barnes, while Jack Grealish is also named - the Aston Villa star was only included last month as a late replacement for Marcus Rashford.


England squad in full:

Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City); Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Harry Winks (Tottenham); Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Harvey Barnes (Leicester City), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Danny Ings (Southampton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

Gareth Bale can rediscover his best form after leaving Real Madrid for Tottenham, according to his Wales coach Ryan Giggs.

The 31-year-old completed a return to Tottenham last month on an initial season-long loan, seven years after swapping the two clubs for a world-record fee at the time.

He won 13 trophies during his time in the Spanish capital but struggled for appearances over the past two seasons following a breakdown in relations with Zinedine Zidane and a lack of fitness.

However, Giggs is hopeful that Bale - who has been left out of Wales' latest squad as he works his way back from a knee injury - will benefit from a return "home".

"He will play more regularly than he did at Madrid," said Giggs ahead of next week's England friendly and the subsequent Nations League double-header with Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria.

"I think it's a good move for Gareth, it's good for Spurs and good for the Premier League in general, to have someone like that who we can watch every week.

"He's at a club he knows well with a very good manager and I think he's said himself it's like going back home."

The versatile forward started training with Tottenham this week for the first time since heading back to north London, having sustained a knee injury while on international duty a month ago.

He will be a key part of Wales' squad for next year's rearranged Euro 2020 and Giggs believes his side will only benefit from having a fully fit Bale in their ranks.

"It will be so much better if he is playing regularly. He will be sharper, will be able to play those two games in a short space of time," said Giggs.

"He's been able to manage it and produce performances because he looks after himself, because of his quality and the experience he's got. But it will be so much better when he is playing regularly."

Former Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has been appointed by Canada in the same role after serving a ban for breaching World Rugby's anti-corruption and betting regulations.

Howley was given an 18-month ban in December, nine months of which are suspended for two years, after it was discovered he made 363 rugby bets over a four-year spell - including on Wales games during his time with the team.

Those misdemeanours ended Howley's 11-year spell as Warren Gatland's assistant, with the 49-year-old sent home from last year's Rugby World Cup before the tournament started.

The suspension - announced in December - was backdated to September 2019, meaning he could return to the sport from June this year.

And Howley has now accepted a job with Rugby Canada that will also see him work as a consultant with the Toronto Arrows for the 2021 Major League Rugby season.

"I'm excited to get to work and help prepare Canada for Rugby World Cup qualification," Howley said in a statement.

"I am also looking forward to my first season in MLR with the Toronto Arrows.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the synergy of a professional club loaded with domestic players in an emerging league to help support the national team - it is very similar to my past experience coaching in Wales."

Howley was tipped to take over as head coach of Italy before the betting breach was revealed and has more recently been linked with the top job at Wasps.

Canada head coach Kingsley Jones said: "Rob is one of the most highly regarded coaches in international rugby and I'm ecstatic that he will be joining us at Rugby Canada.

"He's someone that I've known and respected for a long time, and the opportunity to have Rob join our program is a huge step forward for Canadian rugby. His experience and expertise will benefit not only our young players but our entire coaching staff."

Wales boss Ryan Giggs and defender Neco Williams are confident they can cause an upset against England next month despite struggling to overcome Bulgaria on Sunday.

Liverpool full-back Williams scored the winning goal against Bulgaria, nodding in deep into stoppage time to secure Wales a second Nations League win from as many games.

But it was otherwise a poor performance as Wales struggled for creativity and rarely caused the Bulgaria defence huge issues.

Even though Wales failed to impress against a Bulgaria side that offered very little, Giggs and Williams both feel they could do some damage to the Three Lions in October when the two teams tussle in a friendly at Wembley.

"Yeah, we've got a lot of quality," Giggs told reporters. "England have shown what a quality team they are with strength-in-depth, but we're getting there as well, with the strength-in-depth especially.

"We'll go into every game thinking we've got a chance."

Williams added: "That's going to be a great game. With the quality we have in this team we're going to prove we're capable of beating them.

"I'm sure it's going to be a great game. All the boys are excited and can't wait for the game."

It was the second successive 1-0 win for Wales on Sunday, both of which were secured with late winners.

Giggs was part of a Manchester United team that had a reputation for such dramatic victories, and he is glad to see a similar attitude in his Wales team.

He said: "It is a great trait to have. We keep going. It has an effect on the opposition if you keep scoring late goals, and it gives you belief to keep going until the end, which is what we did.

"It was our best move of the game and it came in the last minute. You need that desire, quality and fitness.

"I was really proud of the players how they kept going. Those experiences of going to the last minute, you can draw upon if you are not playing well and if have to grind results out in the future."

Wales have six points from two matches in Nations League Group B4 and sit at the top of the table.

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