Horsman forced out for season to add to Wales' injury woes

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The Independent Online

It might be advisable for Wales to sit out the Six Nations Championship, which starts next month, given the rate at which they are losing key players. Yesterday the coach, Mike Ruddock, already without several key players, received yet more bad news: the Worcester prop Chris Horsman needs an operation that is likely to keep him out until the end of the season.

It might be advisable for Wales to sit out the Six Nations Championship, which starts next month, given the rate at which they are losing key players. Yesterday the coach, Mike Ruddock, already without several key players, received yet more bad news: the Worcester prop Chris Horsman needs an operation that is likely to keep him out until the end of the season.

John Brain, the Worcester director of rugby, yesterday said Horsman would undergo reconstructive surgery on the ligaments of his left ankle on Thursday. Brain said: "Chris has been playing through the pain for some time now and the point has been reached where surgery is the only option. We can't be sure how long he will be out of the game."

Horsman, 27, who qualified for Wales through residency, made his debut for Wales in the autumn internationals, coming off the bench against New Zealand in November. "The news comes as a big blow to our ambitions to retain the Six Nations title," Ruddock said last night. The Wales coach is already without Kevin Morgan, Ryan Jones, Brent Cockbain and Tom Shanklin. The Ospreys centre Gavin Henson is out of Wales' first three matches, but this evening he appears before an appeals committee in Dublin seeking a reduction of his 10-week-and-two-day ban for elbowing an opponent.

Japan last night attempted to distance itself from the row over the 2011 Rugby World Cup, issuing a statement making it clear that it had not been involved in persuading the Asian Rugby Football Union to appoint a London-based firm of solicitors to challenge the International Rugby Board's secret ballot.

Ewen McKenzie, the Waratahs coach, has pulled out of the running for the vacant Australia head coaching position and has instead decided to extend his contract with New South Wales until the end of 2008.

Worcester's Tongan winger Aisea Havili was last night banned for a week after pleading guilty to a dangerous tackle on Newcastle fly-half Dave Walder on New Year's Day. Havili, 28, will be free to play again on 17 January.

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