Here are the latest rugby headlines from Wales and the wider rugby world on Friday, April 29.
Wales star back three months on from horrible incident
Welsh international Thomas Young makes a welcome return to action this weekend more than three months after suffering an alarming neck injury. There were concerning scenes in Limerick back in January when the Wasps flanker was laid out on the pitch at Thomond Park after taking a heavy blow to the back of the head in a Champions Cup tie against Munster.
Read more: Ross Moriarty staying in Wales with bid from French giants labeled ‘fantasy rugby’
Worryingly, he was having pins and needles down both arms and underwent lengthy treatment before being stretched off. His father he Dai, the Cardiff boss, said it was horrible watching events unfold on TV and then waiting for news. But, after spending the night in hospital out in Ireland, Thomas happily received the all clear and was able to fly home. A lengthy recovery period followed however, but he is now finally set to make his comeback, having been named on the bench for Wasps’ Gallagher Premiership fixture away to London Irish on Sunday afternoon.
The four-times capped back rower, who turns 30 next month, will be joining his dad at Cardiff this summer, ending an eight year stay at Wasps and making him fully eligible for Wales again.
Basham starts as fellow Wales forwards ruled out
The Dragons will be without Wales forward quartet Will Rowlands, Aaron Wainwright, Leon Brown and Elliot Dee through injury when they take on Zebre in Saturday afternoon’s basement battle out in Parma (3.05pm).
Fellow international Ross Moriarty also remains sidelined with the nerve damage he suffered against the Sharks at the beginning of the month and it’s unclear when he will be able to return to action. But one of Wales’ stars of the season does come back into the starting line-up, with Taine Basham showing his versatility as he replaces the crocked Wainwright at No 8.
Joe Davies will make his 100th appearance for the region as he takes over at lock from Rowlands, who suffered a painful blow to his shoulder in last weekend’s home defeat to the Scarlets. Davies will lead the team out at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi to mark his milestone as he becomes the 32nd player to hit a century for the Men of Gwent.
They show four changes in all, with scrum-half Rhodri Williams and prop Chris Coleman also coming into the side, while converted flanker James Benjamin provides the hooking cover on the bench. Zebre lie bottom of the United Rugby Championship table, having lost all 14 league matches this season, with the Dragons one place above them.
Zebre: Junior Laloifi, Jacopo Trulla, Erich Cronjé, Enrico Lucchin, Simone Gesi, Antonio Rizzi, Chris Cook, Danilo Fischetti, Luca Bigi, Ion Neculai, David Sisi (capt), Andrea Zambonin, Maxime Mbandà, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Taina Fox-Matamua.
Replacements: Giampietro Ribaldi, Paolo Buonfiglio, Eduardo Bello, Gabriele Venditti, Luca Andreani, Alessandro Fusco, Timothy O’Malley, Michelangelo Biondelli.
Dragons: Jordan-Williams; Rio Dyer, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Jared Rosser; Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams; Aki Seiuli, Taylor Davies, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Ben Carter, Harri Keddie (capt), Ben Fry, Taine Basham.
Replacements: James Benjamin, Josh Reynolds, Mesake Doge, Huw Taylor, Lennon Greggains, Lewis Jones, Will Reed, Josh Lewis.
Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU)
Webb the derby danger man
Scarlets coach Dwayne Peel says nullifying the attacking threat of Rhys Webb will be a key challenge for his team when they take on the Ospreys in Saturday’s massive derby showdown. Scrum-half Webb produced a Man of the Match performance in last weekend’s victory over Cardiff at the Arms Park, with his own coach Toby Booth praising his “unbelievable” condition of him and backing him for a return to the Wales squad. Now he goes head-to-head with current national squad member Gareth Davies in a United Rugby Championship clash at the Swansea.com with Champions Cup qualification on the line.
Speaking about Webb, former Wales and Lions scrum-half Peel said: “Rhys is always going to be a threat. He scored two tries against us in our New Year’s day derby. Rhys has been a running threat for the entire of his career. I am sure in every preview of the Ospreys he is a focus in terms of trying to nullify his running threat from him. You have got to win the collisions and make sure he is not on the front foot because when he is, he is a handful, similar to our nines. He seems to be comfortable and looks as if he’s enjoying his rugby.”
On the contest with Davies, Peel said: “It will be a good battle and one I’m looking forward to.” You can catch up with all the team news from the west Wales derby here.
Six Nations star to wear scrum cap after gross injury
Jess Breach is to wear a scrum cap for the first time when England face France in Saturday’s Grand Slam decider to protect the thick wound that required the attention of a plastic surgeon.
Breach has been given the all-clear to continue on the left wing for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations clash in Bayonne only six days after being the victim of a dangerous tackle from Ireland back row Dorothy Wall.
Once the 24-year-old had received on-field treatment and passed her HIA, she was taken to hospital where 15 stitches were inserted into a horrific cut on her forehead which she later posted on Instagram.
By Wednesday she was back on the training field testing out a scrum cap with the hope that England’s attempt to win a fourth successive Six Nations title will be its only appearance.
“Gruesome is a great way to describe it! The plastic surgeon at Leicester hospital did an amazing job of fixing me up well with stitches,” Breach told the PA news agency.