Wales blow as Williams remains sidelined

Wales' Liam Williams is still sidelined and will miss the games against Ireland and France

Wales fullback Liam Williams will miss the defending champions' Six Nations matches against Ireland and France due to an ankle injury, defence coach Byron Hayward confirmed on Tuesday.

Williams was injured in training ahead of last year's World Cup in Japan, underwent surgery in October and was expected to be sidelined for three months.

Hayward said the 28-year-old could return in time for the match against England in Twickenham or the final game of the campaign against Scotland in Cardiff next month.

"He's struggling a bit at the moment," Hayward told a news conference.

"It's probably a bit too early for Liam. We're looking at the fourth and fifth game for when he'll be available.

"Leigh (Halfpenny) had a great game at fullback, though it would be nice to get Liam back."

Wales are top of the standings after their 42-0 thrashing of Italy at the weekend and face Ireland on Saturday in Dublin.