Cardiff Blues back rower Josh Navidi has been ruled out of Wales summer tour to the USA and Argentina due to the shoulder dislocation suffered in last week’s Challenge Cup Final win.
The 27-year-old limped off after just six minutes in Bilbao, and although he returned to the bench in a sling and was able to take part in all the post-game celebrations, it has been decided to leave him at home for the games against South Africa and Los Pumas.
Navidi has become a key player in Warren Gatland’s national setup over the last year after impressing on last summer’s tour of the Southern hemisphere. Retaining his place into the Autumn Internationals, he has gone on to play in 10 of the last 11 test matches for Wales through to the end of the Six Nations.
With an opening at number eight in this summer’s squad, as Taulupe Faletau has been rested, it is a great disappointment that Navidi will not be able to add to his 11 caps won so far.
However, after 19 games for Cardiff Blues on top of those Wales games, there is a selfish thought in every mind of the Arms Park faithful that actually he will be able to put his feet up and rest this summer ahead of next season.
Also withdrawn from the Wales squad this week are Tomas Francis, Luke Charteris and Josh Adams, all of whom have been refused release by their English clubs for the first game of the tour against South Africa in Washington as it is out of the test window.
Although the following two tests against Argentina are inside the window, Warren Gatland has opted to take a squad that is available for the pre-tour training camp and all three tests, therefore the Exeter, Bath and Worcester players will miss out.
In their places, Gatland has called up Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Aaron Wainwright and Ashton Hewitt (both Dragons) to the now 30-man squad.
Jones has 16 caps to his name already, and appeared against Italy in this season’s Six Nations, but Hewitt and Wainwright will both be looking to win their first caps after impressing at Rodney Parade.
Owen Lane was not considered as a replacement for Josh Adams due to suffering a fracture dislocation of his hand against Gloucester and having to undergo surgery on his return from Spain.