Owen Watkin: Ospreys centre to miss start of 2020 Six Nations after knee surgery

Owen Watkin has made 22 appearances for Wales
Owen Watkin has made 22 appearances for Wales

Wales centre Owen Watkin will miss the start of the 2020 Six Nations after having knee surgery.

Watkin, 23, limped off during Ospreys' 40-19 loss to Racing 92 on 7 December and is expected to be out for eight weeks.

His absence will prove a problem for new Wales coach Wayne Pivac,

Wales open their 2020 Six Nations campaign against Italy on 1 February in Cardiff before travelling to face Ireland seven days later.

Pivac is already without British and Irish Lions Test centre Jonathan Davies for his first Six Nations campaign because of a knee injury.

Ospreys also confirmed Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe has undergone a second "minor procedure" to the knee he injured playing in Wales' opening World Cup warm-up game against England in August 2019, which forced him to miss the global tournament.

The region have not ruled out Anscombe returning before the end of the season but said a clearer return date would be made in early 2020 when he went back to see a specialist.

Watkin partnered Hadleigh Parkes in Wales' midfield as Pivac began his reign with a 43-33 victory over Barbarians in an uncapped match in November.

An initial scan revealed cartilage damage and Watkin had a meeting with a specialist this week before having surgery.

An Ospreys medical statement read: "Owen injured his knee in the home fixture against Racing 92. A small cartilage tear was confirmed and surgery to deal with the tear was deemed to be the best course of treatment for Owen.

"He is expected to be out of action for up to eight weeks.'

Centre options

Cardiff Blues centre Willis Halaholo was in Pivac's first squad but has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts and Tyler Morgan are established alternatives Pivac could consider for the Six Nations.

Scarlets centre Steff Hughes has been impressive for his region this season, while less experienced options could include Adam Warren, Ben Thomas and Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler.

World Cup top try scorer Josh Adams was tried in the centre in the closing minutes against Barbarians, while fellow Cardiff Blues wing Owen Lane has been identified as a long-term midfield option.

Wing George North, currently sidelined by a hamstring injury, has also previously started for Wales at centre.

Scarlets fly-half Rhys Patchell and Exeter prop Tomas Francis are doubts to take any part in the Six Nations.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones, James Davies, Liam Williams, George North, Taulupe Faletau, Ellis Jenkins and Josh Navidi are all currently sidelined.