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Wales vs South Africa: Liam Williams, Ellis Jenkins set to be fit for Autumn Series Test in Cardiff | Rugby Union News



Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins speaks to media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s Test vs South Africa in Cardiff; Jenkins confirmed back Liam Williams and back-row Ellis Jenkins should be fit for selection, while also providing an injury update on skipper Alun Wyn Jones

Last Updated: 02/11/21 4:45pm

Liam Williams is back and in contention to face South Africa on Saturday for Wales

Liam Williams is back and in contention to face South Africa on Saturday for Wales

Liam Williams is back and in contention to face South Africa on Saturday for Wales

Wales look set to have Liam Williams and Ellis Jenkins in the selection mix for Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series clash against South Africa.

The Six Nations champions are also expecting a definitive fitness update later on Tuesday surrounding skipper Alun Wyn Jones and flanker Ross Moriarty.

Both players suffered shoulder injuries and went off during the first half of Wales’ 54-16 loss to New Zealand in Cardiff on Saturday.

They subsequently underwent scans, with Wales head coach Wayne Pivac delivering a positive immediate post-match assessment of Jones, although the prospects for Moriarty appeared less promising.

Jones hurt the same shoulder that threatened to sideline him from this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa before he made a startling recovery and started all three Tests.

Williams missed last week's Test against New Zealand as he was recovering from appendix surgery Williams missed last week's Test against New Zealand as he was recovering from appendix surgery

Williams missed last week’s Test against New Zealand as he was recovering from appendix surgery

Hooker Ken Owens (back) and number eight Taulupe Faletau (ankle) have also had knocks, with full-back and wing Williams recovering from appendix surgery and flanker Jenkins shaking off a rib problem.

Cardiff forward Jenkins would be favourite to feature in the back-row alongside Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright if Moriarty is ruled out.

Should Jenkins receive the call from Pivac, it would be his first Wales appearance since suffering a major knee injury while starring against the Springboks three years ago.

Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins said: “Liam trained yesterday and today, and he has been doing other aspects of training in the last few weeks. He is building up nicely.

“He is fit and available as far as I am concerned, yes.

Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins spoke to the media on Tuesday Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins spoke to the media on Tuesday

Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins spoke to the media on Tuesday

“Later on last week, he (Jenkins) trained fully and he has trained fully over the last few days. Ellis is another one who is in contention to play on Saturday.

“What he has gone through is probably no-one’s business. For him to get back to this level and playing regularly at a level that he is used to…he’s a fantastic rugby player.

“He is incredibly tough, incredibly intelligent in terms of what he does, and if he were to play on Saturday, I think it would be an incredible achievement.

“It was three years ago, and he was man of the match that day. Let’s hope, fingers crossed, that can happen again for him on Saturday, and he puts those demons to bed.”

Ellis Jenkins has not played for Wales since suffering a catastrophic knee injury vs South Africa in November 2018 Ellis Jenkins has not played for Wales since suffering a catastrophic knee injury vs South Africa in November 2018

Ellis Jenkins has not played for Wales since suffering a catastrophic knee injury vs South Africa in November 2018

On Jones’ situation, Neil Jenkins added: “If Al is fit and able to play, then brilliant.

“If not, then it is an opportunity for someone else to play against one of the best sides in the world and some of the best second-rows in the world.

“Of course, we want our best players fit and available. But if, for some reason, Al is not fit and right for Saturday, then it gives someone else an opportunity, and what an opportunity against these guys.

“You can’t go into your shell against this lot because they will certainly take advantage. We need to stand up for ourselves on Saturday and take the game to them.”

Alun Wyn Jones suffered a recurrence of the shoulder injury he sustained in the summer on Saturday vs New Zealand Alun Wyn Jones suffered a recurrence of the shoulder injury he sustained in the summer on Saturday vs New Zealand

Alun Wyn Jones suffered a recurrence of the shoulder injury he sustained in the summer on Saturday vs New Zealand

Wales have beaten South Africa on the last four occasions in Cardiff and are undefeated against the world champions at home since 2013.

“They are so physical and confrontational,” Jenkins added. “Their set-piece is exceptional, their aerial game is superb, and defence and kicking is very good too.

“They are one of the best sides for a reason, so it’s a good challenge for us on Saturday.

“Against South Africa, we need to be playing for the full 80 minutes, because they will be no different to New Zealand. They play a different way, but again, they can be very ruthless and efficient in what they do.”


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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel suffers setback before Man United clash



Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said on Friday that Ben Chilwell has suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and the next six weeks will determine whether he needs surgery which could rule him out for the majority of the season.

The 24-year-old was forced off midway through the second half of Tuesday’s 4-0 Champions League win over Juventus with a knee problem following a challenge by midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

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Reports had suggested Chilwell was set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines but Tuchel was upbeat about the possibility of the England international avoiding an operation.

“Ben has a partial ACL tear and the decision is to treat it conservatively,” Tuchel said. “The next six weeks will tell the story if he makes it and will be fully available within this six weeks, or after the six weeks or needs surgery after that.

“Now I only care about the six weeks. The first reaction of his body is very positive so hopefully it stays like this.

“This is the decision after all the examinations and it is a very responsible decision, there is no rush in it and no pressure. This is the reasonable way to do it so all the focus is on the next six weeks.

“We need to talk about it again in six weeks. Maybe we don’t need to talk about it again because everything is fine because this would be the best case. There is a worst case and some shades of grey in between. We have to wait. It does not help if we start now speaking about worst-case scenarios because there is also a best-case scenario.”

Chilwell was in a rich vein of form having forced his way into the first team, scoring three goals in four matches during October and Tuchel added: “There is never a good moment for big injuries and for injuries in general but this for him personally is a very bad moment because he was so involved, so good and so full of confidence.

“He was a huge part in our performances and victories in the last weeks. We are very sad but he is actually at the moment very positive. I just spoke to him some minutes ago. He is very positive because his body reacts very positive to the first treatment and the injury. After a while, you have to refocus on the positive things which is now the next weeks.”

Chilwell later posted a message on his Twitter account and wrote: “Very frustrating picking up an injury in a moment like this when I am really enjoying my football and playing in this team.

“I will do everything I can to get back on the pitch as soon as possible. Thank you for all the messages of support.”

N’Golo Kante is also set to miss Sunday’s visit of Manchester United after suffering a twisted knee against Juventus. Tuchel said it would be “almost a miracle” if he makes the game and instead the midfielder is likely to be sidelined for a few days.

United will be managed be caretaker boss Michael Carrick after the club sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday and although they arrive 12 points behind leaders Chelsea, Tuchel said they could still be considered contenders.

“I was [expecting them to challenge for the title] and maybe I still am,” said Tuchel. “I will never write anybody off, not in this league and not in this game because it is a big club, first of all, but a very experienced and individually a top level group of players.

“This is still the case. Part of the performance from us is to not let them perform because once we let them perform you can see within seconds and minutes in every game the full potential and talent of these players.”

Tuchel also hailed the tactical influence of Ralf Rangnick, who is set to become United’s interim boss but not in time for Sunday’s game.

Rangnick gave Tuchel his first coaching opportunity with Ulm Under 15s when he was forced into early retirement as a player aged 24 due to a knee injury and the Blues boss offered a curious endorsement of Rangnick’s methods.

“He helped me a lot,” Tuchel said. “He was my coach and then one of the main figures to convince me to try coaching.

“He had a huge influence on all of us at this time because he showed us that it is not necessary to follow people to the toilet in football games.

“That was the belief in those days, that the defenders follow their strikers wherever they go. He showed us that it is possible to defend everybody in a zone.”

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Lakers superstar LeBron James doesn’t feel suspension was warranted for altercation with Isaiah Stewart



Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James doesn’t believe a suspension was warranted for his involvement in the altercation with Detroit big man Isaiah Stewart.

James made a dominant return to the lineup against Indiana, pouring in 39 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists in the 124-116 OT win.

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Postgame, he gave his account of what happened in the incident that incensed Stewart.

“It was a box out in the free-throw line. His elbow got kinda high, if you watch the film it got me off-balance a little bit,” James explained.

“I tried to swimdown on his arm and when I swung down on his arm he got off-balance and the left side of my hand grazed his face. I knew right away, I knew right away I had caught some part of his head so I went over to apologize to him and obviously you guys seen what happened after that. Definitely accidental.”

Stewart made repeated attempts to get at James, requiring multiple staff members to hold him back as blood streamed down his face. Stewart received a two-game ban for the reaction, while James was sidelined for one game.

The Lakers would lose that one game without James, 106-100 at Madison Square Garden to the New York Knicks. LeBrondoesn’t believe he should have missed the contest.

MORE: LeBron James gets couple ejected in Indiana

“I’m definitely not that type of player. I hate to see that, what escalated after that.

“I didn’t think itwarranted…I thought it warranted an ejection because of what happened after that. Having me in the game, the excitement from the fans, what could possibly happen after that, but a suspension I didn’t think was warranted but the league made that call.”

Los Angeles climbed back to .500 at 10-10 on the season with the win against the Pacers, as they try to shake off a slow start to the season. Fellow star, Anthony Davis missed the game against Indiana with a fever.

Davis will have one night to recover before the Lakers host Sacramento at STAPLES Center – tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson cleared for full team activities; still no return timeline



New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson has been cleared to participate in full team activities, the team announced on Friday evening.

Williamson, who is recovering from a fractured right foot, had his latest set of scans on Wednesday. They were evaluated by Pelicans team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Montgomery and by Dr. Richard Ferkel, a surgeon who has worked on NBA players in the past.

“It’s been a long road to get him to this point,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “Anyone that’s ever dealt with any type of injury like that, it’s hard to come back from. It’s hard mentally. He’s done a great job pushing through. Z has an opportunity now to be a full go in practices, and we’ll have a practice soon. Hopefully that’ll add some juice to our team. He’s a huge part of what we do there.”

The Pelicans said Williamson went through 4-on-4, full-court work on Friday while the team is in Utah for a back-to-back. New Orleans plays Utah on Friday and Saturday before heading to Los Angeles to play the Clippers on Monday. The team will travel back to New Orleans on Tuesday and then play the Dallas Mavericks the following day.

Because of the team’s schedule, it’s likely the Pelicans won’t have a full practice for Williamson to participate in until Thursday.

In a news release, New Orleans said it has yet to determine when Williamson will return to game action.

“It’s more about how he responds to practices,” Green said. “How he responds to the physicality of playing against his teammates. How he responds to getting up and down. Just giving a timeline is tough on that. We want him back as soon as possible. But it’s all predicated on how he feels after workouts, and the medical team will work diligently with him and we’ll go from there.”

Williamson has yet to play in a game this season because of the fractured foot. In his absence, the Pelicans have gotten off to a 4-16 start.

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