Byrne injury blow

Wales have called Cardiff Blues full-back/wing Chris Czekaj into the squad preparing to face Australia in the Invesco Perpetual Series 2010 clash at the Millennium Stadium a week on Saturday as a replacement for injured Osprey Lee Byrne.

Byrne fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand whilst playing for his region against Glasgow Warriors at the weekend and is set to be treated in a cast. He is said to have an outside chance of being available again for international duty for the series’ climax against New Zealand on Saturday, 27 November.

 Scarlets back row Rob McCusker has withdrawn from the squad in order to undergo a hernia operation, possibly a week on Tuesday, meaning he could be available to the Scarlets  this weekend before beginning a probable six week lay-off. McCusker will not be replaced in the Wales squad at this stage.

 Elsewhere, Blues wing Leigh Halfpenny will wait on the results of a scan today to determine the extent of an ankle problem. Three other players, Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies and Richie Rees (both Blues) are to be ‘routinely’ checked out with scans.

 “Lee (Byrne) will be given a specialist opinion this afternoon on whether his injury is treatable with a cast, if that is the case rather than surgery he will have an outside chance of being back for the All Blacks game,” said Wales team physiotherapist Mark Davies.

 “The decision has been taken for Rob (McCusker) to have surgery sooner rather than later to give him a chance of returning to the international scene in time for the Six Nations championship and therefore bid to make the 2011 Rugby World Cup squad.

 “Leigh (Halfpenny) sustained an injury to his ankle on Saturday, but we are unable to give any more information at the moment other than that he will have a scan to attempt to rule out any significant injury today. Ryan (Jones), Bradley (Davies) and Richie (Rees) will all be scanned as a matter of routine this afternoon.

 “Ryan has a calf problem which he picked up in Glasgow yesterday and we will know more over the next 24 hours, but he is not ruled out of the Australia match at the moment.

 “Bradley came off on Saturday with an ankle injury, but this should be a minor problem and he will be up and running before the end of the week and Richie also has a minor hamstring injury.”

 Scarlets wing George North is in the third week of recovery from a fracture to his Fibula and is scheduled for his latest scan this weekend which should see him up and running next week.