Lamont will be a particularly bitter pill for head coach Andy Robinson to swallow after the Toulon full-back picked up a leg injury against Agen over the weekend. Lamont had been in excellent form in the opening two games of the tournament, and scored a try against France in Scotland’s opening game against France.
Adidas Regulate wearer Southwell has not recovered from a facial injury he sustained chasing an aerial ball against Wales nine days ago, while Ansbro suffered concussion playing for Northampton in their defeat against Bath on Saturday.
Four other Scottish players picked up knocks playing in the Magners league this weekend, with Jon Welsh and Robert Harley Edinburgh flanker Ross Rennie and Leinster lock Nathan Hines all in the wars. All four will likely be fit in time to play in the clash at Murrayfield on Sunday.
Robinson was calm despite losing three key players, and is hopeful the game against Ireland will provide his side with an opportunity to make up for their lackluster performance against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. He said: “We wish all of them a speedy recovery. Our medical staff will continue to treat and monitor our injured forwards.
“Everybody was hurting after the display against Wales but we must now focus on the challenge that Ireland bring and there’s absolute determination to bounce back against them at Murrayfield on Sunday.” He added.
Scotland came into the tournament on the back of a historic 21-17 win over South Africa, but despite a spirited display against France in the opening game of the tournament, they have yet to win a game so far.
Shane Williams will be desperate to have a successful final year in international rugby after announcing his retirement at the end of 2011. First up for Williams will be this month’s Six Nations before the World Cup rears its head later in the year. The Ospreys man will turn 34 during the tournament and has decided it’s time he hung up his boots. The experienced speedster is eyeing success in both the Six Nations and the World Cup later in the year. The rugby odds suggest Wales are up against it, but he remains confident.
“I would love a very successful year – winning the Six Nations and doing well in the World Cup,” he said.
The winger has made the start of this Six Nations by the skin of his teeth following his dislocated shoulder suffered in November against New Zealand. Williams has made rapid progress in his recovery and returned to the Ospreys side last month, convincing Warren Gatland that he is ready make the starting line-up as part of a new look back three with Morgan Stoddart on the other wing and James Hook at full-back.
Wales will need to rediscover their best form following a disappointing year since the last Nations competition, racking up six defeats and a draw in their seven matches since last year’s tournament and the pressure will be on Gatland and his squad to put this right over the next couple of months.
After the career Williams has had not many would begrudge him a last hurrah in 2011.
England hooker Dylan Hartley has laughed off remarks made by Wales head coach Warren Gatland and hopes to show his worth on the pitch against Wales in their Six Nations clash on Friday.
Gatland described Hartley as someone who “talked too much” and questioned his ability to play at the highest level, claiming he “fell apart” against Leicester in the Aviva Premiership.
The former Wasps coach’s remarks prompted a response England coach Martin Johnson, who believed his comments were attempts to cover up his side’s recent poor form.
Now Hartley admits he was surprised to be singled out for criticism and hopes to prove Gatland wrong when he comes up against Wales tomorrow in their Six Nations opener at the Millennium Stadium. He said: “It was a bit out of left field but I suppose you just have to deal with it. These things happen”
He also believes that the comments, made over a week before the game, have focused him ahead of the match.
If anything it’s given me ten days to really prepare myself and ten days to really motivate myself,” Hartley said. “The motivation is there already, it’s a big enough game and I want to do well in an England shirt.
“It’s given me plenty of warning of what’s to come and time to prepare.”
Gatland was incensed by the role Hartley played in the suspension of Richie Rees which sees him miss the entire tournament, and his part in the sin-binning of Welsh forward Gareth Williams in the Heineken Cup match between Northampton and Cardiff.
New Zealand-born Hartley has a chequered disciplinary past and served a six month suspension for gouging England team-mate James Haskell in 2007.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in world rugby news Italy head coach Nick Mallet has selected Treviso’s Kris Burton at fly-half for their Six Nations opener against Ireland, while captain Sergio Parisse has recovered from a finger injury in time to take his place in the starting line-up.