Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny’s chances of facing England in the Guinness Six Nations remain slim after he was ruled out of Scarlets action this weekend.
The 30-year-old was released back to Scarlets this week, but has not been considered for Saturday’s PRO14 trip to Benetton.
Halfpenny has returned to full training but has not tasted match action since November owing to concussion issues.
Wales host England in Cardiff on February 23, with Halfpenny remaining a serious doubt to feature in the keenly-anticipated showdown.
“Leigh Halfpenny was not considered for the Scarlets fixture against Benetton Rugby this weekend,” read a Welsh Rugby Union statement.
“Although Leigh has returned to full training, it was collectively decided that he should continue training with the hope he will be available for selection in the imminent future.”
Wales and England will put their 100 per cent records on the line in a clash that could define the course of the entire tournament.
British and Irish Lion Halfpenny would boost head coach Warren Gatland’s options significantly should he be passed fit to face Eddie Jones’ England.
But Wales will not take any risks with the head injury that has kept Halfpenny sidelined since the November 10 Test clash with South Africa.
His chances of facing England appear remote at this stage then, with Gatland perhaps eyeing the March 9 trip to Scotland as a more realistic return date.