Llanelli resigned to Evans' month-long absence

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The Independent Online
Ieuan Evans is unlikely to play again before Wales' Five Nations' Championship match against England at Cardiff Arms Park on 15 March because of injury. That leaves his club, Llanelli, with an unwanted gap to fill during a crucial part of their season.

The former Wales captain suffered a slight hamstring pull during Wales' 27-22 defeat against France in Paris last Saturday, being forced off midway through the second half, but the injury will probably be enough to keep the winger out until the England game.

Unfortunately for Llanelli, they are entering a crucial stage of the season, facing a Swalec Cup tie at Abertillery on Saturday, followed by league games against Cardiff, Caerphilly and Swansea.

Anthony Buchanan, the Scarlets team manager, said yesterday: "There is every chance that Ieuan will miss all those matches. He has started treatment with the Welsh Rugby Union's medical team, although at this stage, everyone is confident he will be fit to face England."

Evans, who has made 71 international appearances - a Welsh record - scored the only try when Wales beat England 10-9 four seasons ago, their solitary success in the last seven meetings between the countries.

Evans has had his problems with injuries, having dislocated his right shoulder five times and suffered an ankle dislocation which cost him around 15 further caps.

The Welshman is a leading candidate for the Lions captaincy in South Africa this summer, as the fortunes of rivals such as Scotland's Rob Wainwright and Ireland's Keith Wood have faltered through form and injury. He was on the Lions tours to Australia in 1989 and New Zealand in 1993.

Evans has scored four tries in his last four internationals, increasing his Welsh try-scoring record to 32.

The former Scotland international, Alan Sharp, is set to join the Courage League Two side Coventry from Bristol for pounds 75,000 subject to a medical.

Coventry have agreed to buy out the remaining 18 months of the loose- head prop's contract with Bristol and he will be reunited with several former team-mates at Coundon Road, as well as the ex-Bristol captain Derek Eves, who is now director of rugby at the club.

"I was starting to feel a bit stale at Bristol and didn't see any future for me there," Sharp said.

"The opportunity provided by Coventry gives me a new challenge in my career. There have been offers from other clubs in the past, including Newcastle, but this move is right for me and my family."

Sharp has been capped six times by Scotland and still harbours ambitions of playing again for his adopted country.

Derek Brown, a Bristol director, said: "We never wanted Alan to leave, but ever since Coventry made the initial approach the player has made it clear he wanted to move. Therefore, we had no alternative but to seek an amicable solution."