The five Wales A-listers who will be back for the Six Nations, those who will be out for longer and the other contenders

He reaches the stage where Wayne Pivac could fear Wales players will get injured in A Question of Sport.

Moguls don’t come in twos for the national head coach these days, but in 22.

A day earlier this campaign, Wales bid farewell for the fall to three players, namely Alun Wyn Jones, Ross Moriarty and Taulupe Faletau.

Then Rhodri Jones injured his calf without setting foot on the pitch, and Ken Owens was also unable to participate in the campaign due to a serious back injury.

There is also a stack of players who could not be considered for selection due to an assortment of strokes, including front row players such as Justin Tipuric and George North.

But given that nothing lasts forever, not even the thorniest issues, there could be better news for the Wales head coach en route to Six Nations 2022.

Mark Orders checks the list of victims and when it should start shrinking.

A-listers who should be back for the Six Nations

Justin tipuric

The Ospreys captain injured his shoulder while playing for the British and Irish Lions against Japan this summer.

Initially, we hoped it was not serious, Warren Gatland having first said that it seemed like it might just be a “bite”.

Unfortunately, the reality turned out to be different.

The Ospreys then released a statement revealing Tipuric would be out at least until Christmas.

When asked if he would return in December, head coach Toby Booth said: “Of course you hope.

“But if you’ve got a broken shoulder blade, it’s really not in our hands.

“This is the healing process and everyone heals a little differently.”

While Taine Basham showed himself well in the first two fall games, Tipuric’s experience is vast and his status as an elite player unmistakable. He is also one of the leaders of the Wales team.

Ross moriarty

He suffered shoulder damage during a double tackle against New Zealand.

The Ultra-Hard Dragon has been booked for shoulder surgery, but there has been no official statement on when he should return.

However, a source suggested he could resume training in December or January, which would put him on track to appear in the Six Nations.

Taulupe Faletau

The Bath No.8 rolled an ankle on his return from South Africa with the Lions, an injury that kept him from training ahead of the Fall Tests.

He was still linked with Wales but was soon released at his club.

Given that there were suggestions he could feature for Pivac’s side in this batch of matches, one would expect Faletau to be ready for the Six Nations.

George North

North suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament while playing for the Ospreys against Cardiff in April.

He had just completed an impressive Six Nations and almost certainly would have toured with the Lions if the 6-4, 17th 2-pound utility back had stayed in shape.

But it wasn’t, and North headed for an extended rehabilitation program.

Like Tipuric, he should be back around the start of the year.

Whether he goes straight to the Wales squad is certainly not in dispute either.

Ken owens

A back injury kept him from playing a role in Wales’ autumn matches.

But the sheriff shouldn’t be sidelined any longer.

“He will definitely be back before the end of the year,” said Pivac.

“I would like to think he will play a number of club games before the Six Nations.”

Ryan Elias had two good performances, Sunday’s performance against Fiji being his best in a Welsh shirt, but Owens brings experience and physique and Pivac will be delighted to see him return to form.

Those who will need more time on the sidelines

Alun wyn jones

The great Welsh rugby warrior suffered a shoulder injury in the game against New Zealand, the same one he injured on duty with the Lions this summer.

It is also a major concern, Jones should be ruled out for all Six Nations.

For most players, a serious injury at the age of 36 would be cause for serious consideration.

But Pivac believes the 149-cap Welsh international has even more battles to fight on the test level.

“The intention is still to see if Al can qualify for the World Cup,” said the coach.

“I think it’s a realistic goal.

“You just have to see him in training and when he plays, the effort he puts in. I don’t see anything going back in terms of performance.

“A little free time, we talked about it before Al left camp, it’s not ideal for him. We all look forward to him playing 150 test matches for Wales.”

Josh navidi

The dreadlocked destroyer dislocated a shoulder playing for Cardiff in their United Rugby Championship clash with the Bulls on October 9.

He then underwent surgery and faces a fight to make it into the Six Nations.

A return date of late March or early April has been suggested, making it unlikely that Navidi will see action in the tournament in 2022.

Leigh halfpenny

A horrific knee injury that occurred while playing for Wales against Argentina last summer left Halfpenny with a long distance recovery.

He is reportedly aiming for a return in April.

The bump came seconds after his 100th test.

At 33 in December, Halfpenny is still four fingers away from his century of selections for Wales.

The status of the little big man as one of the most popular players in Welsh rugby is beyond doubt.

Most surely hope that he will complete his century in Wales and beyond.

Other suitors

Dan Lydiate (ospreys), Josh Macleod (scarlet), Leon Brown (dragons), James Botham (Cardiff), Michael Collins (ospreys), Ashton Hewitt (dragons), Dewi Lake (ospreys), Rhodri Jones (ospreys), James Davies (Scarlet).

Where to start? Lydiate and Lake are part of the Ospreys’ long-term casualty group but, like Tipuric and North, are on the mend and are likely considering returns before Six Nations.

From Lake, Pivac said the powerful hooker and former U20 Wales captain was “on our radar for the most part”.

And it should be. If the Ospreys, Wales and Lake himself can tune the converted rower’s throw, he could be a fixture on the testing scene for years to come.

Michael Collins is also expected to be in good shape and shoot in the coming weeks after the calf strain that saw him limp as he played for the Ospreys against Cardiff on October 2.

The Dragons’ Leon Brown could be back in the next batch of United Rugby Championship games as he recovers from a sting, with a chance Ashton Hewitt could make the season break-in after a knee operation.

James Davies has still not returned to play due to concussion issues as the flanker was last seen on the pitch when Wales faced Georgia almost exactly 12 months ago.

There is better news on Josh Macleod, who is set to return from a long-term Achilles tendon injury, while James Botham was tipped for a return in November after undergoing shoulder surgery .


Rhys Patchell (Scarlet)

Patchell has had several issues over the past year, with a calf issue his last problem excluding him from the Scarlets’ first block of games in the United Rugby Championship.

It picked up the development game Dragons v Scarlets in Newport last Friday.

Good news for Pivac, then.

Every little counts.

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