Six Nations 2014: Wales pair Sam Warburton and Gethin Jenkins sent back to Cardiff Blues

How the mighty have fallen: Victorious Lions captain and much decorated prop sent back to club side

An international player knows he is out of form when his coach volunteers him for a stint of club rugby midway through a Six Nations tournament. Sam Warburton, a victorious Lions captain just seven months ago, suffered this indignity when he left the Wales camp for an emergency spell of back-row activity at Cardiff Blues.

Gethin Jenkins, the much decorated prop, was ordered to beat the same retreat, while the Red Dragon hierarchy tacitly admitted that Adam Jones, still rated the world's premier tight-head specialist, was off the pace. How the mighty have fallen.

The fact that players as celebrated as Warburton and Jenkins are likely to play for the Blues in a Pro 12 match with Glasgow this coming Saturday, less than a week before a Wales-France contest at the Millennium Stadium that could easily end the reigning champions' dream of an unprecedented third successive title, says everything about the seriousness of the situation on the far side of a bloated River Severn.

Jones and the lock Andrew Coombes also started the game with Ireland four days ago – a match in which Wales suffered their heaviest championship defeat since 2006 – and with the head coach Warren Gatland admitting that they had also travelled to Dublin with too few playing miles on the clock, he expected hard questions to be asked.

"We've spoken to the players and they've admitted the performance was below par and unlike them," Gatland said. "We've had a close look at ourselves as coaches as well, in terms of what we could have done differently. We need to take collective responsibility. When we look back, there were probably four of the pack who hadn't played a lot of recent rugby. We're looking at everything – the game, the personnel, whether we need to make a couple of changes. Do we give the players an opportunity to show that Dublin was a one-off, that they're better than that?"

There may be an enforced switch in the side, irrespective of how Warburton and Jenkins shape up for the Blues. Scott Williams, the Scarlets midfielder, injured his right shoulder in Dublin and is by no means certain to recover in time for the meeting with Les Bleus. Equally, the return of another injured Scarlets back, the Lions Test player Jonathan Davies, is far from a done deal. If both are ruled out, Gatland could restore the gifted, but untrusted, James Hook to outside centre or redeploy the left wing George North.

England, meanwhile, have a clean bill of health as they start planning for the big game with Ireland at Twickenham in 10 days' time. The starting XV from the victory over the Scots at Murrayfield are being held in camp; everyone else in the 33-man elite squad is available for Premiership duty this weekend. It means Freddie Burns, the Gloucester outside-half widely thought to be joining Leicester at the end of the season, is free to play for his current club on Sunday... at Leicester.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?