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By Simon Thomas Western Mail
WALES bosses Warren Gatland and Rob Howley are this morning anxiously waiting on the outcome of a medical bulletin surrounding skipper Sam Warburton.
Wales’ inspirational captain dislocated the middle finger on his left hand during the opening minutes of the Blues’ 34-33 Heineken Cup defeat at Sale yesterday.
Warburton was immediately taken to hospital to have the finger put back into place and for X-rays, which will reveal whether there is further damage.
The flanker’s condition will be a worry to the Blues ahead of next Sunday’s Euro meeting with Toulon at the Arms Park and will also be a real concern to Wales with the autumn internationals less than a month away.
Gatland and Howley are due to name their squad for the autumn Tests a week today and are waiting on news of Warburton from the Blues medical staff.
There had been earlier concerns for Wales with four Scarlets players coming off injured in their team’s battering by Clermont in France on Saturday.
Centre Jonathan Davies is believed to be the major worry, but team-mates Scott Williams, Liam Williams and Aaron Shingler joined him on the sidelines.
Doctors were unable to put Warburton’s finger back in place on the field and he was forced to come off just six minutes into the Blues’ Pool Six clash.
While he was in the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department, Warburton delivered updates on his injury via his Twitter account, even posting a picture of the grotesquely twisted finger.
He subsequently reported: “Finger is finally sorted, won’t be signing autographs for a while.
“Suddenly dawned on me I may have fingers like Martyn Williams by the time I finish playing.”
Blues director of rugby Phil Davies is hopeful the damage doesn’t prove to be too bad, saying: “He has gone to hospital to have it sorted out.
“Hopefully he will be back available for next weekend’s game against Toulon.”
Warburton’s Wales colleague Alex Cuthbert scored a hat-trick of tries, but Davies’ men threw away a 15-point lead to lose to a Danny Cipriani-inspired Sale.
The defeat, and Warburton’s injury, ended a painful weekend for Welsh rugby. The Scarlets crashed to Clermont, while the Dragons and London Welsh both lost in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Despite the defeat, Gavin Henson did shine again for the Exiles at fly-half, but his coach Lyn Jones insisted it was too early for Gatland to pick him for Wales’ autumn games.