Gatland gives Davies time
Wales boss extends sympathies to Davies following bereavement
By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: 19/02/10 6:27pm
Davies: Given time by Gatland
Wales lock Bradley Davies has been told by head coach Warren Gatland to take all the time he needs following the death of his mother Sheryl.
"I have told Bradley that we fully understand that his focus is on this sad loss, and his absence from any of our sessions will not count against his continued inclusion in the Six Nations squad."
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Gatland has already informed the 23-year-old Cardiff Blues forward that he is included in the starting XV for Wales' RBS Six Nations clash against France at the Millenium Stadium next Friday.
But the coach, who will reveal his line-up to face Les Bleus on Monday evening, has urged Davies to devote himself entirely to personal issues.
"Our thoughts and sympathies are with Bradley and his family and friends at this difficult time for them all," said Gatland.
"I have told Bradley that we fully understand that his focus is on this sad loss, and his absence from any of our sessions will not count against his continued inclusion in the Six Nations squad.
"I will announce the team to play France on Monday, and I have informed Bradley that he will be selected in the starting XV.
"His initial view is that his mother would be extremely proud of that, and he wants to play any part he is selected for.
"Of course, I will fully understand if he and his family come to any other decision.
"It is important now they spend time together to come to terms with their loss.
"We are extremely close as a squad, and Bradley knows if he wants to be with the boys we will welcome him.
"Equally, we will understand if he needs to be away from the training park right now."
Davies, who received praise for his outstanding display as a second-half substitute during Wales' superb 31-24 victory over Scotland last Sunday, will win his eighth cap and his first Six Nations start if he appears against France.
With fellow lock Alun-Wyn Jones recovering from elbow surgery and Jonathan Thomas set to feature at blindside flanker after Andy Powell was axed from the squad, Davies looks set to create a second-row partnership with Luke Charteris of Newport Gwent Dragons.
Gatland is also expected to install Huw Bennett at hooker to replace the injured Gareth Williams, while scrum-half Richie Rees is likely to start in place of Blues team-mate Gareth Cooper.