Wales Braced For Bad News As Dewi Lake’s World Cup Dream Lies In The Balance

Wales hooker Dewi Lake receives medical treatment. Pic: Getty Images.

Wales Braced For Bad News As Dewi Lake’s World Cup Dream Lies In The Balance

By David Williams

Wales are bracing themselves for bad news over hooker Dewi Lake after his knee injury suffered in the 19-17 defeat to England at Twickenham.

The Ospreys star – who captained his country for the first time – will be assessed over the next few days with his chances of making the World Cup squad in the balance.

Lake’s injury is a massive blow for Wales, depending on the severity. The new skipper looked incredibly uncomfortable and emotional on the sidelines after coming off after 26 minutes.

The hooker has had a torrid time with injuries over the last 12 months.

Before the fixture against England, Lake hadn’t played for Wales since facing the Springboks in Cape Town last July.

The highly-rated front-rower missed the whole of Wales’ international schedule last term as a shoulder injury ruled him out of their autumn campaign.

A knee problem put paid to any Six Nations hopes, and it looks as if he may have suffered another serious setback.

Wales can ill-afford another problem at hooker. Ken Owens captained Warren Gatland’s side during the Six Nations but has been ruled out of the World Cup due to a back injury.

Last week fellow hooker Ryan Elias was forced off the pitch after just six minutes with a hamstring injury, which could see Gatland select his 33-man squad without three of his frontline hookers.

“He is pretty gutted and disappointed,” said Gatland.

“He’s gone to jackal on the ball, Owen Farrell has tried to roll him, and he’s ended up landing on his leg.

“It’s unfortunate and it looks like he’s got a knee injury but we don’t know the extent of it or how bad it is.”

Wales No.8 Taine Plumtree also went off with a shoulder injury that provides Wales with another headache.

Plumtree was making his first start at number eight after winning his first cap against England in Cardiff last weekend.

Although the 23-year-old forward only arrived from New Zealand this summer, his readiness for World Cup duty is already important, given the continuing fitness doubts over Taulupe Faletau.

Taine Basham, who replaced Plumtree, himself went for a head injury assessment after being the victim of a high tackle from England captain Owen Farrell, who was sent off for the challenge.

“I thought it was the right decision on the day,” said Gatland.

“Hopefully for Owen’s sake he doesn’t get too long a ban because I think we need people like him in the game.

“He’ll be a big loss for England if he does pick up a lengthy ban but given previous I’m not too sure what’s going to happen but fingers crossed it’s not too bad for him.”

Farrell could yet miss all of England’s World Cup pool stage matches through suspension.

The game burst into life in the final quarter when Farrell was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on replacement flanker Basham.

His yellow-card was upgraded to a red by the bunker soon after.

It was a first-ever red card in a Test match for the fly-half but it could still cost him and England dearly.

The England skipper will need some sort of mitigation and reduction in his suspension if he is to play any part in the Rugby World Cup pool stages.

The likely entry point for his suspension is set to be six matches, which would rule him out of the warm-up matches against Ireland and Fiji, as well as the pool stage matches against Argentina, Japan, Chile and Samoa.

This would be the second time Farrell has been suspended this year for a dangerous tackle.

He was handed a four-week suspension earlier this year for a dangerous challenge on Gloucester’s Jack Clement.

He returned in time for the Six Nations after completing a tackling course.

That was the third time in his career that he has been sidelined on disciplinary grounds for similar offences.

He will not be able to shave a week off that suspension with World Rugby’s coaching intervention program this time around, as he won’t be eligible.

Commenting on the red card, England head coach Steve Borthwick told Prime Video: “Regarding Owen, we will wait and see what happens now. That’s always the case.”


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