The Ospreys will have to go into Heineken Cup action against Viadana in December with just the one scrum-half in the squad after receiving confirmation today that Shane Williams has been ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a torn hamstring.
With the region’s three named Heineken Cup nines all ruled out with injury, the Ospreys completed the signing of South African scrum-half Ricky Januarie last week on a short term loan, registering him as their one additional player allowed under tournament rules, with winger Williams set to provide back-up in the position.
However, the region’s all-time leading try scorer limped out of Wales’s defeat to Australia at the weekend after pulling up in the opening stages, and scans have revealed the extent of the damage.
Ospreys Head Physio, Chris Towers, commented:
“Shane picked up a left hamstring injury during Saturday’s game, something which was pretty evident to anybody watching the game at the time. The WRU organised a scan for him yesterday to look at the extent of the injury. Based on the findings of the scan, we could be looking at him being unavailable for a period of four to six weeks while he recovers from the injury.”
Ospreys Director of Coaching, Scott Johnson, added:
“It is always disappointing when you lose a player of Shane’s calibre through injury, but this news is a particular blow for us given the current situation we have here regarding our scrum halves. To have lost all three of our named nines for the tournament is an incredible situation, which resulted in us having to bring in emergency cover in the form of Ricky Januarie last week. With tournament regulations meaning that we are only able to make one squad change during the pool stages, as well as playing in his regular position on the wing, Shane was going to have to provide our only cover at scrum half, so his absence is a particular blow.
"We’ll need to look internally at our Heineken Cup squad and investigate potential scrum half cover from within the 38 players named for Europe, in order to identify individuals who have the skill set to potentially play in this position. Obviously, this situation isn’t ideal, but we will be working hard as a coaching team, and as a group of players, to overcome these obstacles.”
Of the three scrum halves originally named in the Ospreys Heineken Cup squad, Mike Phillips is currently recovering from ligament damage to the distal tib/fib joint, Jamie Nutbrown has damaged posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament damage and Tom Isaacs has been ruled out for the season following a shoulder operation.