Six Nations
Johnson confirms Hibbard fitness issues
ESPNscrum Staff
January 20, 2012
Wales hooker Richard Hibbard prepares to throw in, Wales v Argentina, Rugby World Cup Warm-up Test, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, August 20, 2011
Richard Hibbard was overlooked for Wales' Six Nations squad © Getty Images

Ospreys boss Scott Johnson has admitted that Richard Hibbard's omission from Wales' Six Nations squad may be fitness related.

The 28-year-old hooker was overlooked in favour of Matthew Rees, Huw Bennett and Ken Owens, having missed the Rugby World Cup due to an ankle problem sustained in a warm-up game against Argentina.

Since his debut in 2006, Hibbard has been in and out of contention with Wales but was in the reckoning for a call-up following an injury to Dragons front-rower Lloyd Burns. Johnson believes that his conditioning may have let him down on this occasion.

"There's a side to Richard which we love and there's a side that lets him down," Johnson told BBC Sport. "And he has got to understand there are physical requirements all of the time and he has to acknowledge that all of the time.

"To compete with opponents who are up against you all the time you have to got to make sure that you are physically at 100%. Richard sometimes can ebb and flow with regards that.

"As a rugby player he should be in the team. Physically, sometimes, he lets himself down, and he wouldn't mind me saying that because I'm on his back all of the time. I've got a soft spot for Rich as a kid. He epitomises everything I like."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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