Wales head coach Warren Gatland has been hit by another injury blow after it was confirmed that back-row Taine Plumtree is set for a lengthy spell out of the game.
Plumtree, 23, sustained a shoulder injury during Scarlets’ United Rugby Championship clash with the Lions on November 11 and has been absent from the side ever since.
He is facing probable surgery to fix the issue which throws his participation in next year’s Six Nations into doubt as he’s unlikely to be fit for the team’s opening matches.
Shoulder surgery likely
“He is not going to be fit for a while and likely to need surgery on his shoulder,” Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said about his in-form flanker’s injury before praising him.
“He has been good for us. He is a good athlete, and he is prepared to work.
“He is a good character within the group and been a good fit for us and Wales where you are going to have a player in a year or so who will be very competitive.”
Plumtree, who joined Scarlets from the Blues and qualifies for Wales due to being born in Swansea, stood out during the Rugby World Cup warm-up fixtures against England.
WHAT A KICK FROM THE BACK-ROWER! 🙌
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) August 12, 2023
Unfortunately for the player, those performances did not force him into Gatland’s final World Cup squad for France but he was no doubt in the frame for more caps in 2024.
He has started his Scarlets career in impressive fashion, scoring four tries in five games, before this injury struck in what is a blow for both the URC side and Wales.
Scotland first for Wales
Wales kick-off their Six Nations charge against Scotland in Cardiff on February 3, but they already have injury worries. As well as Plumtree, there are also concerns over both experienced number eight Taulupe Faletau and flanker/second-row Christ Tshiunza.
Faletau broke his arm against Georgia in the 2023 World Cup on October 7, while the versatile Tshiunza is sidelined with fractured foot, leaving Wales light in the back-row.
The Welsh will be looking for a much-improved overall showing in the Six Nations next year after they finished a disappointing fifth, picking up just one win in their five games.