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Sunday 17 December 2017

Ospreys case thrown out

ERC clear Welsh club for fielding Ricky Januarie

The Ospreys have been cleared of fielding an ineligible player in the Heineken Cup.

Tournament organisers European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC) informed the Welsh region they had "no case to answer" after an investigation into the registration of emergency scrum-half Ricky Januarie.

The South Africa international joined the Ospreys on loan from Cape Town-based Super 14 outfit the Stormers at the end of November and he played in four Euro group games.

Heineken Cup regulations state a player "must have at least a three-month contract with the club" to be eligible to play in the tournament, but the Stormers' website announced on November 26 that Januarie was going on a two-month deal.

ERC conducted a full investigation after a reported complaint from Premier Rugby -- the English Guinness Premiership clubs' umbrella body.

But after holding a specially-convened board meeting in Dublin today, ERC informed the club they had been cleared.

Cardiff Blues lock Deiniol Jones and hooker Gareth Williams have withdrawn from Wales' Six Nations squad because of injury.

Jones damaged his ribs during the first half of Wales' 26-20 defeat by France on Friday night, while Williams has been struggling with a knee injury since the win against Scotland more than a fortnight ago.

Head coach Warren Gatland has decided not to replace the injured pair and to keep the training squad at 32 players.

Gatland will release 14 men back to their regions after training tomorrow, making them available for Magners League selection this weekend.

Ospreys scrum-half Mike Phillips, an unused replacement against France, will be anxious to put pressure on Richie Rees with a performance against Edinburgh and prove he is back on top form after a four-month injury lay-off.

Dragons lock Luke Charteris, who replaced Jones on Friday, and Ospreys second-row Ian Gough return to the Magners League with a chance to press their claims ahead of Wales' clash with champions Ireland.

Wales' three England-based players -- Sale pair Dwayne Peel and Eifion Lewis-Roberts plus Saracens prop Rhys Gill -- will also be available for Guinness Premiership action.

Meanwhile, England lock Simon Shaw faces an anxious wait to discover the severity of the shoulder injury he suffered during Saturday's 20-16 Six Nations defeat by Ireland.

Shaw saw a specialist yesterday and the results of the review and a scan will be discussed by the England and Wasps medical teams today.

England also confirmed full-back Delon Armitage suffered rib damage early in the second half but there is no immediate timescale for his return either.

Both players have an extra week to recover, with the Six Nations taking a week's break.

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