Wales not heading to Poland

Interim head coach Rob Howley has revealed Wales will not head to Poland for their pre-Six Nations training camp.

Wales have visited Spala and Gdansk in recent years ahead of major tournaments, making use of the cryotherapy facilities available to aid their preparations.

They were widely credited as an important factor in Wales' 2012 Six Nations Grand Slam and their run to the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

But Howley's backroom team will instead work from a base much closer to home, staying at the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan where cryotherapy chambers are also available.

"We are staying in the country this time," Howley told the Western Mail. "We have gone to Poland before on the last two occasions but it is a different environment now and we have chosen to stay at home.

"Hopefully we will have the English and French players available for the three days in that first week of training. That would give us the best available preparation with the squad we have got."

They head into the defence of their title in disarray, on the back of a seven-game losing streak and without the influential Rhys Priestland (Achilles) and Luke Charteris (shoulder) for the entire tournament.

Props Adam Jones and Craig Mitchell, centre Jamie Roberts and full-back Leigh Halfpenny have returned to action after injury and George North escaped serious injury despite being stretchered off playing for Scarlets on Friday.