Ahead of Warren Gatland’s sides final test match with the All Blacks this weekend, the last thing that neither the kiwi nor Welsh fans would have wanted would be futher injuries to their already depleted squad.
However that is exactly what they have gotten with a trio of Welsh players having returned home to Britain following ineligibility to play as a result of various bumps and knocks picked up over the last number of weeks while the Welsh has toured the north and south islands.
Wales will have to do without starters Gethin Jenkins and Bradley Davies due to injuries which has dealt the side a serious blow in their attempt to avoid a series whitewash.
Gatland will now have to make due without the considerable experience of Gethin Jenkins with his 126 test caps, as well as 5 British and Irish Lions caps now going to waste following a calf injury sustained in Wales’ second test defeat last weekend in Wellington which ended 36-22 to the world cup champions.
Davies had started the first test, however was utilised off the bench in Wellington at the weekend and subsequently suffered a knee injury in what was the Ospreys bound player’s 56 cap.
Back-rower Josh Turnbull, while not having featured in either test, sustained a shoulder injury in Wales’ midweek thrashing at the hand of Waikato Chiefs.
All three have been sent home injured, thus further enhancing Wales’ woes:
“We’ve got a fit, healthy squad but we haven’t got room for any further injuries. We’re pretty tight,” said forwards coach Robin McBryde.
A question mark remains over the health of Harlequins centre Jamie Roberts who brutally clashed heads with New Zealand centre Malakai Fekitoa early in the first half leaving the remainder of his inclusion in the test a bit of a ‘blur’ according to the centre.
While he had played on into the latter stages of the second half, Roberts was visibly effected by this injury and has undergone head injury protocols ahead of this weekend third test at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on South Island.
“I got to know Fekitoa quite well 30 seconds in, the rest of the game is a bit of a blur,” he confided.
“It was quite a nasty knock but it’s the nature of the beast, isn’t it?
“My head has taken quite a few knocks over the past decade. I have got memories of Wellington in 2011 when I had collision with Donncha O’Callaghan in the World Cup quarter-final with Ireland.
“My head’s a weird shape now,” quipped Roberts, before adding: “I’m feeling alright. There’s a protocol to follow after a head knock so I’m doing that. Fingers crossed I will be alright for selection.”