SIX NA­TIONS UP­DATE

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RUGBY UNION - ENG­LAND ITALY WALES

WINGER An­thony Wat­son has been ruled out for a pe­riod of three to four weeks by a ham­string prob­lem.

The Bath flyer will miss the open­ing RBS 6 Na­tions clash with France at Twick­en­ham next week­end but it is hoped he will be avail­able to head coach Ed­die Jones later in the tour­na­ment.

A med­i­cal as­sess­ment con­firmed that Wat­son has a slight mus­cu­lar strain to his ham­string which will re­quire a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pe­riod of be­tween three and four weeks.

Wat­son will re­main with Eng­land for his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and Jones said: “It’s dis­ap­point­ing news for An­thony and for Eng­land, but we know he’ll re­hab dili­gently to get him­self right to go as soon as he can. We’re con­fi­dent he’ll be in the mix later in the cham­pi­onship.”

Jones, mean­while, would ap­pear to be fol­low­ing US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s lead when it comes to driv­ing home a mes­sage.

“I just changed their mind­sets, that’s all,” said the Aus­tralian. “My vi­sion was that they should be more ‘English’, so I kept re­peat­ing the mes­sage in dif­fer­ent ways. One day I put mus­tard on it, the next day I put tomato sauce on it – but it was ba­si­cally the same mes­sage.

“Yes, like Trump. Trump’s clever, there’s no deny­ing that. The mantra ‘Make Amer­ica great again’ – he re­peats and re­peats it. Amer­i­cans were pounded with that mes­sage. There’s no ev­i­dence he can; but he’s con­vinced them. He’s changed mind­sets.” Ex­eter skills coach Ricky Pel­low praised the per­for­mance of hat-trick hero Michele Cam­pag­naro as Chiefs thrashed Wasps 52-5 at Sandy Park on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Sam Sim­monds, Mitch Lees, Shaun Mal­ton, Lachie Turner and Stuart Townsend also touched down in the eight-try rout, with Joe Sim­monds con­vert­ing six.

But it was 23-year-old Cam­pag­naro, likely to be in­cluded in the Italy side for next week­end’s Six Na­tions opener against Wales, who was the stand-out fig­ure.

“It’s been a solid set of re­cent per­for­mances from Michele and, while we are sorry to tem­po­rar­ily lose him from our squad, he’ll be ex­cited about bring­ing that form into the Six Na­tions to show what he can do,” Pel­low said. Scrum-half Rhys Webb rated him­self 100 per cent fit ahead of Wales’ Six Na­tions opener against Italy in Rome on Fe­bru­ary 5.

The scrum-half played the first 40 min­utes of Ospreys’ 20-14 An­gloWelsh Cup win over Bris­tol at the Brew­ery Field on Satur­day.

Webb gave Wales coach Rob How­ley a ma­jor boost af­ter the game, say­ing: “I’m 100 per cent fit. I feel good.”

Webb, who has re­cov­ered from an an­kle in­jury, added: “I didn’t want to come off af­ter 40 [min­utes] but there are guide­lines with the con­di­tion­ing coaches. They know my body. I’m lov­ing it.”

CHIEF: Ed­die Jones.

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