Tipuric released byWales amid back row dilemma
Justin Tipuric is among 11 players who have been released back to the regions by Wales for this weekend.
The Ospreys flanker has been allowed to leave camp, along with the likes of Hallam Amos, Owen Watkin and James Davies, to get some game-time.
Under the agreement with the regions, Wales can retain all of their home-based players through the entire Six Nations period, including the weeks like this without a Championship fixture.
But they have chosen to release a sizeable contingent to enable them to get some rugby under their belts ahead of next week’s showdown with Ireland in Dublin.
The case of Tipuric is particularly interesting, given the fitness situation over fellow back rowers Ross Moriarty and Taulupe Faletau.
Moriarty picked up a knock to the shoulder in last Saturday’s 12-6 defeat to England at Twickenham and has been ruled out of Gloucester’s Aviva Premiership trip to Worcester this weekend.
The 23-year-old has only recently returned to action after two spells out with the back problem which cut short his Lions tour last summer.
And Bath have confirmed that Faletau isn’t ready to return from a knee injury against Newcastle on Friday night, making it very unlikely that he will be available to face Ireland.
If Moriarty were to be ruled out, then Josh Navidi would be odds on to move to No 8 for the Aviva Stadium clash, with Tipuric stepping up from the bench to start on the openside.
With that in mind, there may well be a feeling that the 55-cap Tipuric could do with some rugby, having not started a game for close on a month.
So he is now set to line up for the Ospreys in their Guinness PRO14 clash with the Southern Kings at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow evening.
The 28-year-old has come on as a sub for Moriarty during the secondhalf of Wales’ opening two Six Nations matches against Scotland and England.
Fellow flankers Ellis Jenkins and James Davies have also been released to Cardiff Blues and the Scarlets respectively, as they were last week.
The versatile Jenkins is someone who could come into the equation for providing No 8 bench cover out in Dublin if Moriarty fails to make it.
He is joined by prop Dillon Lewis, second row Seb Davies and scrumhalf Tomos Williams in being released to the Blues for Saturday’s Arms Park encounter with Munster.
Along with Tipuric, the Ospreys are also bolstered by the availability of Wales bench centre Owen Watkin, prop Nicky Smith and lock Adam Beard for their meeting with the Kings.
The Dragons will have the fit-again Hallam Amos at their disposal for Sunday’s game against Benetton at Rodney Parade and he will be looking to build on his Man of the Match display at full-back in last week’s draw with Glasgow.
Another impressive outing for Amos could see him come into the reckoning for the highly competitive back three department versus Ireland.
George North, Liam Williams, Steff Evans, Josh Adams and the recovering Leigh Halfpenny are all further contenders for that congested area, not to mention versatile duo Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Patchell.
As for the Scarlets, they will have hooker Ryan Elias available for Saturday’s trip to Leinster, along with James Davies.
Meanwhile, all of Wales’ Englishbased players have returned to their clubs.
We know Moriarty and Faletau won’t be getting their boots on, but Adams (Worcester), North (Northampton) and Liam Williams (Saracens) could all be involved in Aviva Premiership action, as could prop Tomas Francis (Exeter) and Owen Williams (Gloucester).
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> Justin Tipuric has been released back to the Ospreys