The first summer test in the three match series saw Welsh injuries mount with the injury of George North, but also a minor knock it seems to Gareth Anscombe.
WELSH INJURY WOES
George North has been sent home with what Wales has called ”a significant tear”. He caused the All Blacks so many problems in the first test at Eden Park and he will be a huge blow for Wales now he is missing for what appears to be a long time. His replacement, Keelan Giles, has stepped up looking at a chance for a first senior cap after starting this summer off with the Welsh U20s at their World Cup. The 18 year old has scored five tries in eight U18 appearances for the Ospreys age grade this year as well as bagging a handsome amount with his country.
It will be a huge step up for him if he gets his chance, but for the meanwhile he is not in the squad to play the Chiefs and with Tom James and Eli Walker both currently on the tour, it is expected that these will be the main contenders to fill George North’s gaping hole left behind. Although don’t count Giles out as he has bags of pace and skill. They haven’t called him up for nothing, have they?
The other call up alongside Giles is full back Rhys Patchell. Gareth Anscombe has taken a knock (apparently to the hip) and needs cover. Although Anscombe’s injury doesn’t seem as serious, Patchell does count as a utility back and so could cover wing as well in case of any shortages. He arrived on Monday morning (GMT) and is on the Bench against the Chiefs on Tuesday. Keelan Giles isn’t expected to arrive till after the game with the Chiefs.
Warren Gatland said in the press conference:
“It‘s a little hard on Rhys to arrive and be straight on the bench.”
“He was unlucky not to be in the squad in the first place so we had him training with us before we left Wales and he should slot in pretty well.”
These welsh injuries add on from Dan Lydiate and Justin Tipuric pre-tour.
George North will be a massive blow and a huge loss for the Welsh team in a tour that is brutal at the best of times. It does however open the doors to other players and hopefully this will kick start their careers for team Wales. All Wales can hope for is that the Welsh injuries do not pile up further.
We wish George all the best in his recovery and hope to see him in a jersey of club or country as soon as possible.