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Rugby | Six Nations

Wales give Poland the cold shoulder



Wales interim head coach Rob Howley signalled a break with recent practice on Monday by ruling out a trip to Poland for a pre-Six Nations training camp.

Wales have travelled to Spala and Gdansk in the past few years ahead of major tournaments to make use of cryotheraphy facilities where players' brief exposure to temperatures as low as -160 Celsius are said to reduce inflammation injuries and flush away toxins.

Visits to Poland were widely credited with helping Wales reach the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup and take last year's Six Nations title with a Grand Slam.

But they are currently on a run of seven straight defeats and former Wales scrumhalf Howley, deputising for head coach Warren Gatland who has been seconded to take charge of the British and Irish for their tour of Australia later this year, said he will keep the players at home ahead of the Six Nations.

However, they will still have access to cryotherapy treatment.

"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 (based) 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."

Wales will be without fly-half Rhys Priestland (Achilles) and lock Luke Charteris (shoulder) for the entire Six Nations.

But props Adam Jones and Craig Mitchell, centre Jamie Roberts and full-back Leigh Halfpenny have all returned to action after injury.

Wales begin the defence of their Six Nations title at home to Ireland on February 2.

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