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Sam Costelow Leaves Huge Gap In Wales Squad For Six Nations

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By David Williams

Wales fly-half Sam Costelow is expected to be sidelined until January after suffering shoulder and hamstring injuries.

Scarlets playmaker Costelow was hurt during Wales’ 49-26 victory over the Barbarians on Saturday and went off at half-time.

He is a clear favourite to succeed Dan Biggar, who retired from Test rugby after the World Cup, in Wales’ number 10 shirt.

Wales kick off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland in Cardiff on February 3.

“We are not expecting him in the short term,” Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel told reporters ahead of Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash against South African side the Lions.

“It will be beyond Christmas, beyond the new year before we see him. I haven’t an exact date. We are still waiting on the final prognosis and some specialist opinion, really, on that.

“It is a disappointing one for us because he is going to be out for the large part of the first half of the season.

“There is loads more to come from him, and this is obviously a setback in his career at the minute to have this injury.”

Costelow impressed for Wales at the World Cup in France, starting the pool game against Georgia when Gareth Anscombe was a late withdrawal.

And he is the latest member of that squad to be sidelined, with Exeter forward Christ Tshiunza suffering a broken foot on his return to domestic action and number eight Taulupe Faletau continuing his recovery from a broken arm sustained in the Georgia match.

Wales, meanwhile, are without the Six Nations services of Anscombe and full-back Liam Williams, who will play domestic rugby in Japan next year.

Meanwhile, South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi has called the England team “unprofessional” for their allegation that he used discriminatory language towards Tom Curry at the World Cup.

In one of the most notorious sagas of the entire tournament, the Springboks star was part of a World Rugby investigation after the England flanker believed he was racially abused by him during the semi-final.

World Rugby closed the investigation before the final saying there was “insufficient evidence”, allowing Mbonambi to play in the 12-11 victory over the All Blacks, although he only lasted a matter of minutes before going off with a knee injury.

Speaking to BBC Sport Africa recently, the 32-year-old denied racially swearing and instead said that he was speaking Afrikaans, before labelling England as “unprofessional” for assuming the Springboks would speak English.

“I think it is a very sad thing when you live in a first world country, you think the rest of the world speaks English,” the two-time World Cup winner said.

“It was unprofessional on their part. They could have gone on a website and looked for an English dictionary and looked for the word in Afrikaans.

“People understood [in South Africa] but obviously their side was misunderstood.

“I’m glad it was well taken care of [by World Rugby] and that is all in the past now.

“But I have never racially swore at him.”

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