Scott Quinnell's Wales can prepare to face England at Twickenham on 23 March, knowing that influential captain Martin Johnson will not be on the park...
The man who led the British Lions on Tour to Australia in the summer will be forced to watch his country from the sidelines after his appeal against a three week ban by the Rugby Football Union was today dismissed.
The Leicester Tigers second row had an initial three-week ban, imposed for punching Saracens hooker Robbie Russell in a Zurich Premiership match, suspended when his club appealed against the decison, allowing him to lead England against France in Paris last weekend.
But after a six hour appeal hearing at Twickenham today it was decided to dismiss his appeal and his three week sanction will begin from today.
He will not only miss England's game against Wales on March 23, but also Leicester's Zurich Premiership appointments with Bath and Gloucester.
Today's six-hour hearing was conducted in front of independent arbitrator David Pannick QC.
Johnson was not appealing against either the fact he punched Russell, or the sentence. His, and Leicester's, argument was that the RFU did not have the power to effectively punish him twice for the same offence.
Referee Dave Pearson sent the England skipper to the sin bin on the intervention of a touch-judge, but this was deemed by the RFU to be insufficient penalty.
The player will not now be available until the Tigers' visit to London Wasps on Easter Sunday, before taking up his role as England skipper in the final match of the Six Nations campaign against Italy in Rome.
England coach Clive Woodward reacted philosophically to the verdict.
"I accept the decision made by the QC today," said Woodward.
"If available, Neil Back will captain England against Wales."
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series