Sport Rugby

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Scots 'famous five' to return for Irish clash

SCOTLAND coach Andy Robinson is preparing to unleash his 'famous five' against Ireland when the two sides clash in their World Cup warm-up international at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Alastair Kellock, Ross Ford, Allan Jacobsen, John Barclay and Richie Gray all played in Scotland's Triple Crown-denying victory over Ireland at Croke Park last year and, after being rested from club rugby by Robinson in March with the World Cup in mind, the quintet have all been told they will be starting against Ireland.

Robinson is expected to name an experienced team today and Kellock, who captained Scotland during the Six Nations, is eager to get stuck into Declan Kidney's men.

"I'm feeling good, the game gives you a focus but it's going to be tough," said the 30-year-old second-row.

"We have worked really hard and everybody is driving each other on. It's been quite a long while since I played but it's been a long time for everybody. It's good to get back to it."

Sharples and Tuilagi play way into mix

International rookies Manu Tuilagi and Charlie Sharples are one step closer to World Cup selection after taking England's training camp by storm.

Tuilagi (20) and Sharples (21) were singled out for praise by manager Martin Johnson after surviving the first cut of the England training squad.

Johnson has confirmed that Joe Worsley, Thomas Waldrom, George Chuter, David Strettle and James Simpson-Daniel had all been released from the original 45-man party.

Sharples and Tuilagi are now vying to make their Test debuts in England's back-to-back internationals against Wales over the next fortnight.

Johnson will make the final cut on August 22 when he finalises his 30-man World Cup squad.

Wales sweating on captain Rees fitness

Wales are hopeful that captain Matthew Rees will be fit to lead his country at the World Cup next month despite being laid low by a neck problem.

The Scarlets hooker has already been ruled out of Wales' warm-up game against England on Saturday, with flanker Sam Warburton set to take charge.

Wales coach Warren Gatland admits surgery is a possibility for Rees, who has won 46 caps and was appointed Wales skipper last November.

The 30-year-old is due to undergo injections in the hope it will relieve pressure on his neck, with any operation not taking place until after the World Cup.

His condition, though, is a worry for Gatland, especially as Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard, who provided bench cover for Rees throughout last season, is still recovering from shoulder surgery.

Irish Independent

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