By David Williams
George North has been given the “green light” to win his 100th Wales cap against England in the Six Nations showdown next week.
North missed Wales’ second Six Nations win against Scotland last weekend with a foot injury. But the 28-year-old British and Irish Lions star has returned to training ahead of England’s visit to Cardiff on Saturday week.
Wales attack coach Stephen Jones said: “George is making good progress, every day he is improving. He’s taken part in some sort of training already, which is great, and that’s the good thing from our perspective. I believe it is a full green light.”
North’s fellow centres Johnny Williams and Jonathan Davies are also back in training to strengthen head coach Wayne Pivac’s midfield options, while flanker Josh Navidi has overcome the neck injury which forced him to miss the Scotland win.
Full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who was injured at Murrayfield, and wing Hallam Amos are going through HIA protocols. Scrum-half Tomos Williams has been ruled out with a hamstring problem.
Jones said: “Hallam and Leigh are still going through the protocols. But Johnny Williams is good, it’s the same with Navidi’s neck and Jonathan Davies.”
Josh Adams, top try scorer at the 2019 World Cup, is also available after serving a two-match ban for breaching Covid-19 restrictions.
But Wales must keep a watchful eye on their English-based players, who have returned to their clubs for Gallagher Premiership action this weekend.
Wing sensation Louis Rees-Zammit, who scored two tries in the 25-24 Murrayfield win, and No.8 Taulupe Faletau are in action against each other when Bath and Gloucester meet at the Recreation Ground on Friday night.
Northampton outside-half Dan Biggar, Bristol fly-half Callum Sheedy, Exeter prop Tomas Francis and Wasps second-row Will Rowlands could also feature for their clubs this weekend.
Jones said: “It’s difficult when they go back to England because we lose access from a training perspective. But the positive about those players (Rees-Zammit and Faletau) is that game is on a Friday, as opposed to a Sunday.
“So those players will get over their bumps and bruises a bit quicker and have more time to recover from our perspective.”
Reigning champions England have had a mixed tournament so far, losing their Twickenham opener to Scotland before beating Italy 41-18 last weekend.
Captain Owen Farrell, who played at fly-half against Scotland before moving to inside centre for the win over Italy, in particular has come in for criticism with England coach Eddie Jones conceding that the Saracens star is “not at his best”.
Jones, the former Lions outside-half, said: “I don’t make much of it (Farrell criticism) if I’m honest.
“Whether he plays at 10 or 12 I suppose that’s the interesting options that they have. But we have enough to concentrate on from our aspect. We respect England and rightfully so, they are Six Nations champions and were successful in the autumn series.
“They’ve got huge experience in their side and we know it will be a physical challenge. But we’re back in our stadium, we’re two from two and there’s huge excitement here.”