Leigh Halfpenny will miss England clash

Wing Leigh Halfpenny has been ruled out of contention for Wales' RBS 6 Nations opener against England in Cardiff on Friday night.

The Cardiff Blues player suffered a sprained ankle during Wales training yesterday, and joins Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Tom Shanklin, Andrew Bishop, George North and Richie Rees on the sidelines.

A scan, though, has revealed Halfpenny's injury is not as bad as first thought.

He also looks set to miss the Murrayfield appointment with Scotland on Saturday week, but could be available for Wales' third championship game - against Italy in Rome - on February 26.

Wales coach Warren Gatland is due to name his team for the England clash tomorrow, when Halfpenny - who missed the entire autumn series because of ankle trouble - was expected to feature.

But with the 22-year-old now unavailable, Scarlets wing Morgan Stoddart is favourite to replace him.

Wales physiotherapist Mark Davies said: "Leigh has an acute sprain to his ankle, but the scan has revealed no further disruption to the ligaments, which is much more positive news than was first feared.

"He will wear a boot and stay off his feet for the next few days, but will remain in camp where we will monitor his rehab.

"The injury rules him out of the England game and should mean he misses the visit to Scotland."

The Wales management considered calling in cover for Halfpenny, but decided not to at this stage while his progress continues to be monitored.