herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Howley sure Wales have right kickers

ROB HOWLEY has no doubt that whoever is chosen as Wales' first-choice goalkicker for their Six Nations opener against Ireland will be up to the task.

Wales had their share of kicking woes during the World Cup in New Zealand earlier this season, with key chances being missed against pool opponents South Africa and semi-final conquerors France.

Injured Rhys Priestland apart, Gatland also has James Hook, Stephen Jones and Leigh Halfpenny as goalkicking options.

"You need options, and Leigh's (inset) long-distance kicking has been exceptional," Wales assistant coach Howley said.

"We have strength in depth in Hook, Jones, Priestland and Halfpenny. Whoever starts goalkicking will be good enough."

Wales could be without almost half the team that destroyed Ireland's World Cup dream.

Prop Gethin Jenkins (knee) and locks Luke Charteris (wrist) and Alun-Wyn Jones (toe) are confirmed non-starters, while Shane Williams' retirement from Test rugby leaves a void on the left wing. Gatland also has fitness worries over Priestland (knee), centre Jamie Roberts (knee) and flanker Dan Lydiate (ankle).



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