Wales hope to have Dan Biggar available to face France on Saturday week but will make the Northampton fly-half see an independent concussion specialist after a third head injury in five months.

Wayne Pivac’s side are struggling for options in the position with Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Patchell injured, and Owen Williams missing the rest of the Six Nations after straining his hamstring while warming up against Ireland in Dublin last Saturday.

Biggar is crucial to hopes of retaining the title but Wales will only pick him to face France at the Principality Stadium if he is passed fit by an independent expert. That happened during the World Cup when he failed two head injury assessments in 11 days following collisions against Australia and Fiji.

It was a tournament run by World Rugby whose rules stipulate that any player suffering two concussions in a year must be independently assessed after passing the return to play protocols, but there is no obligation on teams to do so in the Six Nations.

The Welsh Rugby Union’s national medical manager Prav Mathema insists on independent consultation after a repeat concussion and in recent years Leigh Halfpenny, George North and Patchell have all had extended layoffs. Biggar is in the care of Northampton this week under Premiership regulations because there are no Six Nations matches, but he will not be considered for Sunday’s home match against Bristol.

“Dan is doing the normal return to play protocols,” said Wales’ assistant coach, Neil Jenkins. “That takes a bit of time but he is recovering well and we hope he will be OK for next week. The World Cup was a concern in terms of the heavy knocks that he had, but I don’t think Saturday was as bad as those.

“A head injury assessment is still something that you’ve got to do and the right decision was made [to leave him out against Ireland]. He is a tough old player, as you could see on Saturday because trying to get him off was an issue. He will do everything to be ready to face France.”

Wales have not brought another fly-half into the squad even though they are down to two in Biggar and his replacement in Dublin, Cardiff’s Jarrod Evans, although Patchell is likely to be recalled if he makes his return for Scarlets on the weekend of the France match.

Wales’s wing Josh Adams, who scored a hat-trick of tries against Italy in the opening round, will be fit to face France. He was replaced after 25 minutes against Ireland after being unable to run off a knock on his hip, but he is expected to resume training at the end of the week.

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“Josh is recovering and going through his treatment,” Jenkins said. “He is one of our leading lights who was outstanding in the World Cup and in the two games so far up until his injury. Josh is spending most of the time with the medics and will train when he is ready to go.

“We have reviewed the Ireland game and though we were under the pump at times, it was a match we would have won but for errors. We know how strong France are: they would probably have beaten us in the World Cup but for a sending off. They will be incredibly physical with Shaun Edwards in their ranks and we know we have to perform.”

source: theguardian.com

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