Rugby Union: Howley Test doubt

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The Independent Online
WALES ARE likely to be without Rob Howley when they meet South Africa in Pretoria today, condemning their captain to miss another opportunity to pit his skills against the Springboks for the second time in little over a year.

Last summer the 27-year-old Cardiff scrum-half dislocated his shoulder against Natal just a week before the Lions' first-Test victory in Cape Town. This time a hamstring strain has cast doubt over his participation, although the Welsh management will wait until this morning before they make a final decision. Howley was unable to train yesterday.

If Howley is not considered fit then the Wales caretaker coach, Dennis John, will promote his son, Paul, from the bench and the flanker Kingsley Jones will captain his country for the first time when he wins his 10th cap. Jones' club-mate, David Llewellyn, who only arrived in South Africa on Thursday, would take John's place among the replacements.

His absence would be an enormous loss to the Welsh, who have not beaten South Africa in 10 attempts stretching back over 92 years. They have lost all four of their tour games in South Africa since beating Zimbabwe 49- 11 in Harare three weeks ago.

Seven of John's original squad of 30 have had their tour truncated because of injury.