Today’s rugby headlines as England’s star changes countries and Wales is hopefully crushed by the second ‘deadly blow’

These are today’s rugby headlines on Thursday 13 January.

Wales hopeful’s second killer blow

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel has complained about the crushing blow that looks to ruin Josh Macleod’s chances in Wales for the second year running.

Macleod saw a first cap from Wales snatched by his Achilles tendon last year, after being told 30 minutes earlier that he would be sidelined to meet Scotland.

And after finally coming back 11 months later, he only lasted 10 minutes after another hamstring injury in the New Year’s derby against the Ospreys.

“Josh is bitterly disappointed,” Peel said.

“The man has worked so hard and trained fantastically in the run-up to the Ospreys game.

“Having a hamstring injury so early in the game is obviously a huge blow to him. He was so excited to come back and had worked so hard to come back.

“But look, it’s one of those things in sport.

“One thing I know about him is that he will get back on the horse right away.

“He’s right in the gym rehab etc.

“Hopefully we’ll see him back in a Scarlets shirt sooner rather than longer.”

Peel agreed that the versatile rump grower, one of the best ball thieves in Wales, had had zero luck in the past year.

“Yes, he has had nothing,” said the coach.

“I feel for him. He’s an intense guy, he likes to represent the club. Not representing his country when he’s picked to play is of course also a killer.

“All we can do is support him.”

English star is going to change country

England international Nathan Hughes has announced his intention to switch countries and represent Fiji.

Hughes will become one of the first players to take advantage of new rugby laws that allow players to change their national allegiances after a three-year resignation.

The number eight, born in Fiji but decided to play for England in 2016, won 22 caps for the English. He last represented them in 2019 and so is now eligible to switch.

It means he can meet Wales in the group stage of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

In 2016, the Bristol Bears star said: “It wasn’t easy. People said ‘you’re not from here, why do you want to play for England, you should play for your own country’.

“But in the end it’s my decision and it’s my choice, who I want to play for.

“I now consider this home. I have been playing in England for over three years and I can safely say that this is my home.

“No disrespect, Fiji will always be in my heart and my family will always be there. But this is where I play my rugby, this is my bread and butter, here.”

Foxy promises to keep fighting

Wales center Jonathan Davies insists he is far from done at international level.

Davies faces a battle to get into Wales’ midfield for this year’s Six Nations after struggling to reach previous highs in the past year, but he says he will continue to represent Wales for as long as possible.

And with 93 caps to his name and a World Cup on the horizon, he has a lot to play for next year, despite turning 34 in April.

“I just want to play for my country as long as possible,” he said.

“I’m not going to stick flags in the ground and say ‘I want to go here’.

“Every time you get the chance to don that Welsh jersey, you’re part of a lucky few.

“For me, every chance I get to do it I will cherish. Right now my body feels really good.

“I feel like I still have a few kilometers on the clock and I will do everything I can to make sure my form is good enough to be selected.

“Watch this space for years to come. I love playing for my country and I will do it for as long as possible.”

Wales locks Davies signs

Seb Davies has pledged his future to Cardiff Rugby by signing a new long-term contract.

The existing second-tier deal was set to expire in the summer, but he has now written new terms to stay with the Blue and Blacks.

He is the first senior team member to sign a new contract this season, following the recruitment of Thomas Young, Taulupe Faletau and Liam Williams for the 2022-23 season.

Davies said: “I am very happy to sign a new contract. This is my home club, I was born and raised here in Cardiff and have a lot of passion for the club.

“Many of my friends, who I have come through the ranks with, are also here and I am very excited about the direction we are going and what we can achieve as a group under Dai Young.

“He has made a big difference over the past year and I am convinced that this is the best place for me to improve as a player.

“I’m happy with my form this season and it’s been great to get so much playing time with Wales in the autumn, but I’m eager to get started personally as well as with Cardiff and Wales.

“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to continue pulling the blue and black jersey and look forward to playing as much of a role as possible in the coming years.”

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