Saturday 3 December 2016

Gatland waits on Byrne verdict

Published 28/01/2010 | 12:20

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland could be forced into a selection rethink for Wales' RBS 6 Nations opener against England after full-back Lee Byrne was hit with a misconduct complaint.

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Byrne's brief appearance as an illegal 16th player during the Ospreys' Heineken Cup victory over Leicester last weekend might easily impact on Wales coach Gatland.

He is due to name his line-up for Twickenham on Sunday - two days after Byrne's European Rugby Cup disciplinary hearing in Dublin.

If Byrne is suspended, then Gatland seemingly has little option other than to retain James Hook as his last line of defence.

Hook started all four autumn Tests in the number 15 shirt this season because Byrne was injured, but it is thought Gatland wants to field Hook in midfield alongside Jamie Roberts against England on Saturday week.

Speaking before news of Byrne's hearing broke, Gatland said: "We haven't settled on where James Hook will play.

"He prefers to play at 10, but his performances for the Ospreys in midfield have been pretty good and the balance between James and Andrew Bishop against Leicester was very good.

"Bishop's defence was outstanding, and James dictated. He did a good job at full-back against Australia, and he is a player you have got to find a position for and get him the ball.

"He can play 10, and he is equally capable at 15. You have got to find somewhere for him to play."

Press Association

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