Sunday rugby news as Wales sweat over captain Dan Biggar’s fitness for tour of South Africa as he goes out injured in English semi-final

These are your rugby headlines on the morning of Sunday June 12

Pivac sweats over Biggar as he is forced to leave

Wales face an anxious wait for the fitness of captain Dan Biggar after he was forced to retire injured in Northampton’s 27-14 Gallagher Premiership semi-final loss to Leicester at Welford Road.

The 100-cap fly half seemed to hurt his back trying to charge down in the first half, jerking up awkwardly. He kept playing, but finally had to call it a day in 51 minutes.

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Biggar had scored two penalties before the break and then had a hand on a try from full-back Tommy Freeman. It was unclear if a back spasm or a knee problem was the reason for his departure from the field and Wales boss Wayne Pivac will be awaiting the official diagnosis from doctors.

The Welsh players will reunite soon for their three-Test tour to South Africa, and Biggar was chosen to lead the team ahead of Alun Wyn Jones.

Biggar is one of three named fly-halfs, with Rhys Patchell and Gareth Anscombe the others. Patchell limped off from the Scarlets’ last game against the Stormers with a hamstring injury, shortly after coming on as a substitute, while Anscombe has yet to catch up at test level after knee problems of his own. .

Winger Alex Cuthbert was another scare after missing the Ospreys’ crucial final game of their United Rugby Championship campaign at home to the Bulls with a hamstring problem, although his manager Toby Booth called it “a slight problem.

Cuthbert is one of several players from the 33-man Wales tour side to end the season sidelined with injury, including Patchell, Josh Adams, Wyn Jones, Tomos Williams, Ryan Elias and Will Rowlands.

Wales are definitely without Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright, Uilisi Halaholo, Leigh Halfpenny and Johnny McNicholl and are desperately hoping Biggar’s problem isn’t so bad and he can bring Wales into battle.

The first Test against South Africa is at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld on Saturday 2 July, with more matches to follow in Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

In Biggar’s absence, table leaders Leicester have taken charge of their clash with Northampton and face Saracens in next Saturday’s Premiership final at Twickenham. Sarries beat reigning champions Harlequins 34-17 in the first semi-final, with Welsh internationals Nick Tompkins and Aled Davies crossing for tries.

Skinstad: Welsh players should go to SA

Former Springboks captain Bobby Skinstad believes Welsh players could benefit from spending time playing rugby in South Africa. The former fullback, who moved in the opposite direction by spending a season with the Dragons, feels these new experiences can be very beneficial.

“If Wales have, say, five quality outside halves but only four teams, they could send one of those players to a South African franchise. Wales benefits and someone can go to Cape Town. The player benefits, the team benefits and the National Union benefits,” he said.

Skinstad feels that the fact that the two countries are now involved in the same national competition, the United Rugby Championship, provides a real opportunity on this front.

“I really think it fixes the situation where players are out of sight out of mind. If a Welshman goes to Japan, nobody sees him. He now he can play in another part of the world, but the same tournament. He has to work. It makes sense. I know common sense is not that common, but we have to look at this and say it’s better for the player and it’s better for the teams,” he said.

The 42-cap Skinstad have also been responding to comments from former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton, who has said the URC is pointless and “looks like a random mix of clubs”.

“Sometimes things have to look messy for a while before they straighten out,” he said. “I have no doubt that the URC format will start to put more pressure on the domestic leagues in Europe. I think this league will be the best place to play rugby.”

Vermeulen’s absence explained

Duane Vermeulen will miss the Springboks’ games with Wales due to a knee injury, it has been reported in South Africa.

The absence of the veteran World Cup winner was one of the headlines when the team was named over the weekend, as the Bulls and Stormers prepared for a United Rugby Championship play-off final dominated by South Africa.

However, it has since emerged that Vermeulen, who often has blockbuster games against Wales, is injured.

His No. 8 spot in the Tests will go to Kwagga Smith at No. 8, or exciting youngsters Elrigh Louw and Evan Roos. Jasper Wiese is another option.

Ford dedicates victory to the Youngs family

George Ford dedicated Leicester’s thrilling Gallagher Premiership play-off win over Northampton to the Young’s home after the Tigers ended a nine-year wait at Twickenham.

A minute-long applause ensued before kick-off against Northampton at Welford Road in memory of Tiffany Youngs following the tragic news about her earlier in the week. Her husband, Tom, retired in April after a career that saw him captain the Tigers and make more than 200 first-team appearances.

Ford scored 22 points from a try, conversion, drop-goal and four penalties, and created a second-half touchdown for Freddie Steward in his last Leicester home appearance before joining Sale later this summer.

“Some things are bigger than rugby, and nobody can imagine what the Youngs have been through, to be honest,” Ford told BT Sport.

“That effort today, from everyone here at Welford Road, went to the Youngs family.”

You can come back and ready to sizzle

Jonny May enters the final phase of his career determined to enjoy every moment after a period recovering from a knee injury whetted his appetite for the game.

May missed England’s Six Nations campaign with a torn meniscus that was initially caused by a kick to the back of the leg by Gloucester team-mate Ruan Ackermann earlier in January.

Four months on, the 32-year-old power forward hopes to force his way back into Eddie Jones’ plans in time for Sunday’s game against the Barbarians and the subsequent tour to Australia.

“I’m probably in the last quarter of my career now and the goal is to keep leaving no stone unturned, keep exploring, keep being curious and try to have a little more fun,” May said.

“When you’re injured you realize you feel sorry for playing 80 minutes every week sometimes because it’s hard. Be happier, enjoy it and go in and be the best you can be.”

“There are always positives and opportunities when you’re injured to rethink things, re-evaluate, take a break and then be grateful again.

“The bottom line is that I am as hungry as ever and desperate to just be a student of the game and constantly look for ways and little tweaks to improve. Just to be a happier person and a better rugby player.”

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