Rugby World Cup
Liam Williams in line for Wales return against England
PA Sport
September 23, 2015
Injury-hit Wales still a challenge - Launchbury

Full-back Liam Williams looks set to line up for Wales in their World Cup clash against England this weekend after taking part in training on Wednesday.

Williams suffered a knock to his thigh during last weekend's 54-9 Pool A victory over Uruguay. Wales, though, are still waiting on props Samson Lee and Paul James, who both went off in the Uruguay game after experiencing tight calf muscles.

"Liam trained fully this morning [Wednesday] and is ready to go," Wales assistant coach Rob Howley said during a press conference at the Wales team hotel in Weybridge.

Liam Williams suffered a thigh injury against Uruguay last weekend.
Liam Williams suffered a thigh injury against Uruguay last weekend.© Michael Steele/Getty Images

"Our two props are still being assessed. They're being continuously assessed and I hope to have good news over the next 24 hours. We've got time, but time is running out. We have to make that decision in the next 24 hours. 

"Samson is further in front than Paul. We'll just have to wait and see. With our medical team we've got trust in them making that call, and it's hour by hour. There are props on standby. We're waiting to make that call when we need to." 

Centre Cory Allen this week became the latest Wales player to be sidelined from World Cup contention due to injury, following Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Webb, Rhodri Jones and Eli Walker.

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Wales' quarter-final ambitions will not stand or fall on what happens at Twickenham, but defeat would considerably increase their degree of difficulty in claiming one of two last-eight places from a group that also includes Australia and Fiji.

Gatland will announce his starting line-up on Thursday morning, and injuries permitting, there appear to be just two major selection debates.

The New Zealander must decide whether to retain an out-of-form Alex Cuthbert on the wing or go for 20-year-old Newport Gwent Dragons back Hallam Amos, while the hooking berth is a straight battle between Scott Baldwin and Ken Owens.

In terms of the prop situation, Howley added: "There are props on stand-by. We're waiting to make that call when we need to.

"We have already contacted Rugby World Cup, and there is special dispensation for front rows which allows us to bring someone in even 24 hours before a game."

The likeliest stand-by options would appear to be Rob Evans, Nicky Smith and Scott Andrews.

Howley said: "The game at the weekend is not so much physical, but about the top four inches. Mental preparation has to be spot-on.

"We were disappointing in aspects [against Uruguay], particularly holding the ball in wider channels. We worked on that today. It's important on Saturday we get the ball and respect the ball. It's a big game that is down to the fine margins. 

"Key decision-making and accuracy under pressure will be the defining role in the game. There won't be many opportunities out there."

© PA Sport

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