Wales boss Warren Gatland was left facing a front-row injury crisis after hookers Matthew Rees and Gareth Williams were ruled out of their RBS 6 Nations clash with France at the Millennium Stadium.
Physio Mark Davies revealed that Rees will not recover from a groin injury in time for selection while Gareth Davies is out with knee ligament damage sustained in Wales’ bruising encounter with Scotland last weekend.
That leaves hookers Huw Bennett and Ken Owens, who replaces Andy Powell in the squad, to battle it out for the starting berth against a formidable French front row who out-scrummaged both Scotland and Ireland in Les Bleus’ matches so far.
They are joined on the burgeoning injury list by Lions prop Gethin Jenkins who picked up a calf injury just 12 minutes into his comeback against Scotland and lock Alun Wyn Jones who is out for up to 12 weeks with a chipped bone and ligament damage.
Davies said: “Matthew is progressing well and will undergo exhaustive testing over the next few days which will give us a clearer idea of when he may be available, but the France game will be too soon for him.
“Gethin has been scanned since leaving the field against Scotland and has aggravated the calf injury which kept him out against England so will not take to the field against France.
“Gareth will miss the France game with medial ligament damage to his knee which he also sustained against Scotland.”