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Six Nations 2020: Wales’ Liam Williams set to miss Ireland and France games

Liam Williams is leaving Saracens to return to Scarlets next season
Six Nations: Ireland v Wales
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 8 February Kick-off: 1415 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Five, BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru.

Liam Williams is out of Wales’ Six Nations matches against Ireland and France but could face England, says defence coach Byron Hayward.

The Scarlets-bound back has not played since Wales beat France in the World Cup quarter final last October.

“It’s probably a bit too early for Liam, we’re looking at the fourth and fifth game,” said Hayward.

Hooker Elliot Dee, scrum-half Gareth Davies and centre Owen Watkin are fit after missing the 42-0 win over Italy.

Williams underwent surgery after injuring an ankle in Japan and was expected to be sidelined for three months.

Hayward confirmed Williams was making progress but admitted his return was “certainly not as soon as we’d hoped”

And he added: “Look at all the positives – the boys all worked well last weekend.

“Leigh [Halfpenny] had a great game at full-back, though it would be nice to get Liam back.”

If Williams does not make the match in Twickenham on 7 March then he could return for Wales’ final outing against Scotland in Cardiff a week later.

The reigning champions’ comprehensive opening weekend victory has thrown up some selection headaches for Wales.

Defence coach Byron Hayward on Wales shutting out Italy with his new defence style

Saracens centre Nick Tompkins scored a try in an assured display off the bench which has led to calls for his inclusion in Dublin.

Hayward admitted Wales faced a tough selection with 20-times capped Watkin available again after wing George North made a rare appearance in the centre – and scored a try – against Italy.

“Nick made an impact and certainly put his hand up for selection,” added Hayward.

“He took to the international stage like he’d been there for many years.

“We know what Owen can do and what he brings. It will be an interesting debate.”

Wales are scheduled to name their team to face Ireland on Thursday, 6 February at 1100 GMT.

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