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Today’s rugby news as Gatland to watch intently tonight and England dealt Six Nations blow

Here’s a round-up of all the latest rugby news for Friday, December 29.

Tuilagi sweats during Six Nations gym workout

Outfielder Manu Tuilagi is now a doubt for England’s Six Nations Open against Italy, after suffering another groin injury.

The 32-year-old does not require surgery, but initial estimates suggest he could be out of action for around six weeks, after suffering the injury while playing for the Semi against Saracens.

England take on Italy in Rome on February 3.

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Alex Sanderson, director of rugby sales, said: “Manu has torn his groin and we think he will be back in the Six Nations, but not in the first week.

“I spoke to him and he said ‘I need to play and if I play well then it’s up to England to make the selection’.

“He was on the list before and I had stated in advance my intention to continue playing international rugby. Six weeks is the recommended time for injuries and Manu said four weeks.”

Gatland to see more

Wales head coach Warren Gatland will certainly be watching Bristol Bears’ clash with Exeter Chiefs tonight.

Ashton Gate is set to host a Christmas party with more than 23,000 tickets sold for the match.

It will be another chance for Callum Sheedy to impress for the Kiwis, with the starting player named in the starting line-up. With no Dan Biggar and Gareth Anscombe to choose from this time, Sheedy will most likely be involved with Six Nations selection.

In the Chiefs’ starting line-up are Dafydd Jenkins and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso – two others who will be looking to impress Gatland and his coaching ticket.

The match starts at 7:45 pm.

Williams – We have to take responsibility

Rhodri Williams says his Dragons team-mates must take responsibility for the manner of their Boxing Day defeat at the hands of Cardiff – and says they must set a record against the Scarlets on New Year’s Day.

The Dragons were beaten 55-21 in the capital on Boxing Day, and Williams pulled no punches in his assessment of the contest.

“It was difficult and unacceptable for us as a team. That first half favored the XV on the field,” he said.

“We had a good week of practice and felt good going into the game. To be fair, Cardiff played well, but we have to go forward a lot better and stop the momentum.

“We will review the details but 1 to 15 is not good enough, we need to find a way to fix it and that is due to individual errors.

“We have to be honest with each other and we have another derby on New Year’s Day, so we have to sort things out quickly,” he added.

“Having another derby soon would be helpful, but we have to learn from that and look very carefully to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“It was as tough in the dressing room as you would imagine – it was 55 points against a local rival.

“The players on the field let the club down and we have to put things right.

“That is not enough and we must be honest with each other as we stick together.”

van der Merwe signs new deal with Edinburgh

Scotland international Duhan van der Merwe has signed a new deal that will keep him at Edinburgh Rugby until at least June 2025.

The British and Irish Lions are currently enjoying their second break in the Scottish capital and say signing a new contract was a no-brainer. He said: “Edinburgh is home to me. I love playing rugby here and it’s where I’m happiest. I’m delighted to have my contract extended – I can’t imagine playing anywhere else at this point in my career.

“Edinburgh has done a lot for me in my career. I have always said that I want to repay the trust the club has shown in me over the years, so signing a new contract was natural.

“We have a special group here and there is a real sense of togetherness, everyone believes in what Sean [Everitt] trying to build. I’ve really enjoyed his coaching and people management style so far. Playing under him has been great, long may that continue.”


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