Rugby Union

Jamie Roberts Harlequins.

Wales without Jamie Roberts after threat of disciplinary action from Harlequins

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Wales star Jamie Roberts faced possible disciplinary action by his club Harlequins if he had not returned from Test duty this week, Press Association Sport understands.

The Quins centre, who has won 94 caps, reported back for club training on Tuesday.

It is thought that Quins, Roberts and his representatives were involved in discussions during the past couple of days after the player initially intimated that he wanted to remain with Wales.

Roberts, though, is now on domestic duty ahead of Quins tackling European champions Saracens at the Twickenham Stoop in five days’ time.

Three other Wales squad members – Gloucester back Owen Williams, Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland, and Exeter prop Tomas Francis – are also with their clubs.

Wales’ Under Armour Series finale against South Africa on Saturday falls outside the World Rugby autumn Test match window, and England’s Premiership clubs have a blanket approach not to release players for those games.

That policy remains unchanged and in force this week, but Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau is currently with the Wales squad and is available for Test team selection, along with Bath’s on-loan Cardiff Blues prop Scott Andrews.

Bath could be sanctioned by Premiership Rugby if, as expected, Faletau plays against the Springboks. It is further understood that 69 times-capped Faletau has a clause in his Bath contract giving him full release for Wales.

In terms of any Bath punishment, a precedent was set when Premiership Rugby fined Northampton £60,000 after they released Wales wing George North to face Australia outside the 2013 autumn window.

London Irish v Harlequins - Aviva Premiership

Wales’ preparations, meanwhile, have been dealt a double setback with lock Jake Ball and flanker Justin Tipuric both being released from the squad due to injury.

The Welsh Rugby Union announced that Ball suffered a dislocated shoulder during the 33-18 defeat against New Zealand three days ago and will undergo surgery.

Tipuric suffered a thigh muscle injury in the same match and will be heading back to his regional team the Ospreys for ongoing treatment.

Tipuric had a thigh problem earlier in the autumn series, missing the appointments with Australia and Georgia as a result, while he went on as a substitute against New Zealand.

British & Irish Lions Media & Training Session

Scrum-half Rhys Webb went off inside 10 minutes of the All Blacks game after suffering a head knock, and Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins said: “He is going through his (return to play) protocols, and he is going all right.

“He is trying to tick the boxes, do everything that is needed of him, and hopefully fingers crossed he will be all right for Saturday.”

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is due to name his starting line-up on Thursday, when there could be a debut for Scarlets centre Hadleigh Parkes.

New Zealand-born Parkes, 30, completes a three-year residency qualification this week to be available for Wales.

Wales v New Zealand - International Match

“Hadleigh has been outstanding for the Scarlets, and he has been a great addition to the squad,” Jenkins added.

“I think he has got quite a few strengths. He carries exceptionally well, and defensively he is very good. I think he has got that subtlety to his game as well.”

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Topics:
Wales Rugby
Harlequins
Aviva Premiership
Rugby Union

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