Media Watch: Conan’s return, Gray’s dismay and Harley’s new deal

Charlie Bennett
11 February 2020

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With two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations ticked off, the countdown to the return of the Guinness PRO14 begins in earnest this week with Round 11 on the horizon.

And today’s media watch starts in Ireland where there is good news for the provincial sides after national team head coach Andy Farrell released 13 players back to their clubs.

While 23 players will be retained for a two-day camp in the Cork Institute of Technology, Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht will all get a few of their internationals back.

Staying in Ireland, the positive news just keeps on coming for defending Guinness PRO14 champions Leinster, who could have Jack Conan to call on once again sooner rather than later.

Conan suffered a broken ankle in Japan during the World Cup but The Irish Times is reporting that the No.8 could be back playing for Leinster next month.

He is on course to take part in Leinster’s two-game mini tour of South Africa after the conclusion of the Six Nations, which would also put him in contention for Leinster’s Champions Cup quarter-final.

In Scotland, things are not quite so rosy for Glasgow Warriors after it was confirmed that Jonny Gray will miss the rest of the Guinness Six Nations because of a hand injury.

The 25-year-old lock featured in both of Scotland’s defeats in the Championship but will now return to his club for “ongoing care and assessment” according to Scottish Rugby.

In better news for Warriors, Rob Harley has signed a new two-year contract extension.

The 29-year-old flanker is Glasgow’s record appearance maker and the only player to have played in more than 200 games for the Scotstoun club after making his debut in 2010/11.

While Harley will remain at the club, Warriors prop Charlie Capps has signed with Premiership club Leicester Tigers on a short-term deal – with Gaston Cortes moving the other way.

Meanwhile, Scarlets are also looking forward to welcoming back a couple of players ahead of their blockbuster clash with Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday.

Kieron Fonotia is back in contention having been out since November with a calf problem while Wales flanker James Davies is also close to a return according to head coach Brad Mooar.

For those reflecting on the Guinness Six Nations, and Wales’ defeat to Ireland in Round 2, Wales Online have put together the best national team from what they’ve seen so far.

And speaking of Welsh internationals, Owen Watkin is eyeing a return to action in the Guinness PRO14 against Ulster on Saturday after recovering from knee surgery.

The 23-year-old limped off in Ospreys’ 40-19 defeat to Racing 92 in the Champions Cup before Christmas but a good performance could see him recalled for Wales by Wayne Pivac.

Finally, Isuzu Southern Kings have selected a 27-man squad for their two-week tour as they prepare to face Munster in Cork before travelling to Llanelli to take on Scarlets.

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