Friday 23 March 2018

Wales wait on Byrne bid

Wales are waiting to find out if banned full-back Lee Byrne can face England on Saturday Photo: Getty Images
Wales are waiting to find out if banned full-back Lee Byrne can face England on Saturday Photo: Getty Images

Wales will discover today whether or not banned full-back Lee Byrne can face England in Saturday's Six Nations opener.

Byrne's appeal to a European Rugby Cup independent panel will be heard in Glasgow and the outcome will decide if he can line-up at Twickenham.

Wales have been training with two different line-ups -- one that includes Ospreys full-back Byrne, and one that does not.

Byrne was punished after admitting a misconduct charge following his brief illegal appearance as a 16th player during the Ospreys' Heineken Cup victory over Leicester last month. Ospreys, meanwhile, were fined €25,000.

But Wales head coach Warren Gatland has delayed his team announcement for England pending the result of Byrne's appeal.

According to Lawrence Dallaglio, England need to escape the shadow of Martin Johnson's giant reputation and not be afraid to stand up to the team manager if they are to make an impact on the Six Nations Championship.

The former England back-row forward, who won the World Cup with Johnson in 2003, believes that many of the present squad are so in awe of the former captain's iconic status that they feel inhibited.

"What we all want to see is players having more input into where they are going, what style of rugby they are to play - in other words, England need to be more player-led and less coach-driven," Dallaglio said. "The challenge for Martin is that he is such an iconic guy they don't want to put their hand up; everyone is so afraid of him. When you have that void, you become led by your coaches.

"Players have to take ownership of the team and the game and those strong personalities - Jonny Wilkinson, Nick Easter and Lewis Moody - need to come out. Any successful team is led by the players. We were. That is what you want as a coach."

Meanwhile, a back injury has forced France lock Sebastien Chabal to pull out of the Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield. The 32-year-old's place in the squad has been taken by Toulouse's Yoann Maestri.

Irish Independent

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