RWC doubts

Disaster for Wales as Halfpenny and Webb suffer injuries in Italy win

Both players picked up what looked like serious injuries.

WARREN GATLAND MAY be without key men Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb for the World Cup after both players were injured in Wales’ 23-19 win over Italy at the Millennium Stadium.

Rugby Union - World Cup Warm Up Match - Wales v Italy - Millennium Stadium Halfpenny leaves the field this evening. PA WIRE PA WIRE

Fullback Halfpenny, who kicked five penalties in the Welsh victory, was stretchered off while receiving gas to relieve his evident pain. It is believed that the Toulon man suffered an injury to his right knee.

Webb, the clear first-choice for Gatland at scrum-half, left the field on a stretcher in the first half after sustaining what looked like a serious ankle injury. The Ospreys man was put in a protective cast as he was helped off.

Rhys is being scanned at the moment, so it’s not a break, we don’t know if it’s ligament damage,” Gatland told Wales Online post-match. “Leigh will be scanned tomorrow or Monday, it was his knee.

“It’s not great is it? You’ve got to feel for them if they are ruled out. You’ve got to put that behind you and work with the players you’ve got.”

Wales had already lost outside centre Jonathan Davies to a knee injury earlier this summer, depriving them of a key man ahead of a hugely demanding tussle with England, Australia and Fiji in Pool A of the World Cup.

Rugby Union - World Cup Warm Up Match - Wales v Italy - Millennium Stadium Webb looked to be in serious pain in the first half. PA WIRE PA WIRE

Halfpenny’s kicking, as well as a try from George North and a Dan Biggar penalty ensured Wales came away from a difficult test against the Italian with the win.

Joe Schmidt will take note of the competitiveness Italy provided a week after they were hammered by Vern Cotter’s Scotland.

Wing Leonardo Sarto scored a second-minute try to get the Italian effort up and running, and the game was tied at 11-11 right up until the final quarter.

Wales did enough to earn some breathing room, however, before the Italians finished with a consolation try by Guglielmo Palazzani in the last minute. Italy are part of Pool D at the World Cup, alongside Ireland, France, Canada and Romania.

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