1 Feb 2012

Wales sweating on fitness of World Cup stars

8:15 am on 1 February 2012

Wales are waiting on the fitness of Jamie Roberts, Rhys Priestland and Dan Lydiate ahead of their opening Six Nations rugby match against Ireland in Dublin on Monday.

Newport flanker Lydiate has an ankle problem while Cardiff centre Roberts and first five Priestland, one of the success stories in Wales's run to the semi-finals of last year's World Cup, are both struggling with knee injuries.

All three took some part in last week's training camp in Poland and Wales have delayed naming their team for the Lansdowne Road clash until Saturday in order to give the trio the best chance possible of playing this weekend.

If Priestland is ruled out then James Hook, as happened at the World Cup, could start at number 10 with either Stephen Jones or Gavin Henson on the bench.

Henson could also come in at centre if Roberts remains unfit.

Former captain Ryan Jones and Andy Powell are possible back-row replacements for Lydiate.

Wales are already without prop Gethin Jenkins and first-choice locks Alun Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris.