Sean Maitland, the New Zealand-born Scotland wing who had some decent moments on the Lions tour of Australia last summer, will not be having moments of any description against England this weekend. The 25-year-old “kilted kiwi” was concussed during his team’s heavy defeat in Ireland on Sunday and also picked up a leg injury. He has no chance of recovering in time for Murrayfield.
Wales are considering recalling two of their most celebrated forwards, the flanker Sam Warburton and the loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins, for the tough visit to Dublin on Saturday. Warburton, the national captain who recently broke new ground by signing a central contract after months of speculation over his future, played 16 minutes off the bench against Italy after recovering from a shoulder injury, while Jenkins has been declared fit after knee problems.
Another top-class operator, the Scarlets outside centre Jonathan Davies, is also pushing for a recall after playing his first half of competitive rugby since tearing a pectoral muscle during the pre-Christmas internationals.
His regional colleague Scott Williams scored one of the Welsh tries against the Azzurri three days ago and would feel hard done by if he were to be demoted, but Davies seems certain to reclaim his place before the end of the tournament.
Scarlets confirmed yesterday that the 32-year-old former England midfielder Olly Barkley will spend the rest of the season in Llanelli. Barkley parted company with the French side Grenoble a week or so ago.
His old club Bath, meanwhile, reported some stayings and goings. The inside centre Kyle Eastmond, a member of the current England elite squad, agreed a two-year contract extension, while Nick Abendanon, capped twice at full-back, confirmed plans to play Top 14 rugby for Clermont Auvergne next season.