Rugby Union: Gibbs likely to join list of Welsh absentees

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Scott Gibbs, heartily sick of seeing his prestigious name linked with various big-spending English clubs following his heroics for the Lions in South Africa this summer, looks likely to sweat out his frustration on the treatment table rather than the pitch this weekend. The Swansea centre, subject of a pounds 400,000 offer from Northampton as recently as last week, has ankle ligament problems and may well miss the low-key Wales v Romania international at Wrexham on Saturday.

Wales are already resigned to taking the field without three first-choice backs, with Ieuan Evans and Rob Howley still nursing respective hamstring and shoulder injuries sustainted during the Lions tour and Neil Jenkins feeling the detrimental effects of Pontypridd's opening Premiership fixture with Cardiff 11 days ago. Wayne Procter, the Llanelli wing, is also up against it, thanks to a badly bruised thigh.

The solitary Gibbs, less than impressed by the constant speculation surrounding his future in Welsh club rugby, will consult Malcolm Downes, the Welsh Rugby Union surgeon, tomorrow to ascertain the full extent of the injury picked up during Swansea's impressive weekend victory over Newport at St Helen's. Kevin Bowring and the rest of the Welsh hierarchy could do without further midfield selection problems following the club versus country wrangle involving Gibbs' Test partner, the Richmond centre Allan Bateman.

Meanwhile, Ken Rowlands, the WRU's director of referees, wants Ian Ramage, the Scottish official scheduled to control Saturday's game, to wear a microphone and allow his comments to be broadcast to the crowd. The move follows a recent initiative in the southern hemisphere where, in effect, referees have been wired to the terraces.