Rugby Union: Five Nations Focus: Hall fit for Wales

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The Independent Online
MIKE HALL was yesterday passed fit to play for Wales against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday even though he will be in pain when he does so, writes Steve Bale.

The centre knows the feeling, having suffered his groin injury before the recent England game but still deciding to play then. A scan has shown the trouble to be muscular and Hall took part in yesterday's training session in Cardiff.

'I'm relieved that nothing is really wrong,' the Cardiff captain said. 'The muscle is giving me some grief but as long as there's no risk of long-term damage I'll play through the pain- barrier.'

Stirring stuff and Hall, as a Lion in Australia three years ago, knows that any Welsh player who impresses the Scotland coach on Saturday will have a head start towards Lions selection in the summer since Ian McGeechan is also Lions coach. Tour selection has already been unexpectedly opened up by Wales's victory over England at the Arms Park.

'The benchmark for the Lions will be the Lions coach's team,' Alan Davies, the Wales coach, told his players yesterday. 'Ian will have preconceived ideas in his mind and you will have to be better than them to get into the team, so it's really important for everyone involved to play well. That will be an obvious factor in motivating the players.'

Harlequins last night awarded the first of their under-21 scholarship to the ex-England under-19 centre Will Kefford, who will spend the summer months playing for the Western Suburbs club in Wellington, the New Zealand capital.

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