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6 Nations

Wales team to face Scotland in Guinness Six Nations opener

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Cameron Winnett will win his first senior international cap for Wales having been named at full-back. Rio Dyer and Josh Adams are selected on the wings.

At 21 years and 60 days old on Saturday, Dafydd Jenkins will become the second youngest man to captain Wales after Sir Gareth Edwards. Adam Beard partners Jenkins in the second row.

30.01.24 – Wales rugby training in the week leading up to their Guinness Six Nations game against Scotland – Cameron Winnett during training

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Owen Watkin returns to the Wales starting XV for the first time since November 2022. He lines up alongside Nick Tompkins in the midfield.

Corey Domachowski (loose-head prop) makes his first Six Nations appearance, he is joined in the front row by hooker Ryan Elias and tight-head prop Leon Brown.

The back row comprises James Botham (blind-side flanker), who is making his first Wales appearance for more than two years, Tommy Reffell at open-side flanker and Aaron Wainwright at No. 8.

Gareth Davies starts at scrum half. Sam Costelow, also featuring in his first Six Nations match, is named alongside his Scarlets clubmate at fly half.

Among the Wales replacements, back row Alex Mann could make his first senior international appearance this weekend if he follows Cardiff Rugby clubmate Winnett onto the Principality Stadium pitch.

Kemsley Mathias (loose-head prop), Keiron Assiratti (tight-head prop) and Teddy Williams (second row), who all won their first caps in the 2023 Vodafone Summer Series as well as Ioan Lloyd, who was first capped for Wales in autumn 2020, would join Domachowski and Costelow in making their Six Nations debut if appearing from the bench.

Elliot Dee (hooker) provides the remaining forward cover. Tomos Williams and Mason Grady are the other replacement backs.

30.01.24 – Wales rugby training in the week leading up to their Guinness Six Nations game against Scotland – Aaron Wainwright during training

Gatland said: “Cameron Winnett is just a lovely footballer and I think he’s going to develop into a quality international player in the future. He’s young and there’ll be no pressure on him. We’ve been impressed with the way that he’s trained. He’s done really well in training, progressed really well and following consultation with his surgeon everyone was happy for him to be selected.

“It’s also great that Alex Mann is on the bench and will hopefully get his debut as well.

“I think there’s a really nice balance in the squad.

“We’ve got some players who were involved in the world cup so have some experience and then some exciting youngsters and when I look at that forward pack, it’s not a small forward pack. It’s a big forward pack.

“Scotland haven’t won here in a long, long time and it’s an opportunity for us to continue with that record. The roof’s going to be open, Scotland want the roof open which I think is a little bit disappointing from an atmosphere point of view, because when that roof is shut it does tend to create a lot more atmosphere and noise in the stadium. But that’s the decision that they made.

“The players understand how important this first game is in the competition. The sold out stadium, go out there, you get the Six Nations off to a good start, you can create some momentum.

“I’ve been really pleased with their attitude and the way that they’ve trained this week and we should be really excited about this first game.”

On the absences of George North and Will Rowlands Gatland added: “George got quite a big stinger in terms of his shoulder and didn’t take part in full training last week so Owen Watkin comes into the midfield.

“Will hasn’t come into the squad yet. His wife had a baby a couple of weeks ago in France and unfortunately there were some complications. So the message to him has been you stay home and be with your family. We always talk about how important that is and he’ll turn up when he’s ready.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 3 February KO 4.45pm GMT. Live on BBC and S4C.

15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)

14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 54 caps)

13. Owen Watkin (Ospreys / Gweilch – 36 caps)

12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens / Saraseniaid – 32 caps)

11. Rio Dyer (Dragons / Dreigiau – 14 caps)

10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 8 caps)

9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 74 caps)

1. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 6 caps)

2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 38 caps)

3. Leon Brown (Dragons / Dreigiau – 23 caps)

4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 12 caps) Captain / Capten

5. Adam Beard (Ospreys / Gweilch – 51 caps)

6. James Botham (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 9 caps)

7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers / Caerlŷr – 13 caps)

8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons / Dreigiau – 43 caps)

Replacements

16. Elliot Dee (Dragons / Dreigiau – 46 caps)

17. Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets – 1 cap)

18. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 2 caps)

19. Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 1 cap)

20. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)

21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 53 caps)

22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 2 caps)

23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 6 caps)

Content & Images from – Wales Rugby


6 Nations

Wales team to face Ireland in Dublin named

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Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named the Wales side to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the third round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 24 February (KO 2.15pm live on ITV and S4C).

There is one change to the starting XV that played England at Twickenham on 10 February, with Sam Costelow returning for Wales at fly half.

Among the replacements back-row Mackenzie Martin is in line to win his first senior cap this weekend and would become the 1,200th Wales men’s international.

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Tight-head prop Dillon Lewis would be making his first appearance of this Championship if called on from the bench.

Gatland said: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We’ve made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 24 February KO 2.15pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C.
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain / Capten
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)

Replacements

16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


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6 Nations

Jager and Ahern Join Ireland Squad Ahead Of Wales

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The Ireland squad re-assembled in Dublin on Sunday evening ahead of this weekend’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations Round 3 clash against Wales at Aviva Stadium (Kick-off 2.15pm).

Prop Oli Jager has joined the squad and Thomas Ahern has also linked up with Andy Farrell‘s side at the IRFU High Performance Centre this week.

Iain Henderson picked up a foot injury during Ulster’s URC game away to Ospreys on Sunday and there will be a further update later in the week.

The Ireland Match Day Squad to face Wales at Aviva Stadium will be named on Thursday at 2pm.

Ireland Squad – Wales Week: 

Backs (15):

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht)
Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
James Lowe (Leinster)
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster)

Forwards (21):

Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)*
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster)
Oli Jager (Munster)*
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jeremy Loughman (Garryowen/Munster)
Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(captain)
Tom O’Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)

*Denotes uncapped player

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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6 Nations

O’Connell Gives Update On Keenan As Ireland Return To Training

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Hugo Keenan is Ireland’s main injury concern ahead of Saturday week’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations clash with Wales. The ever-influential full-back took a blow to his left knee during the win over Italy.

Keenan sustained the injury when falling awkwardly in a 52nd-minute tackle from Italian replacement Giosuè Zilocchi. He was replaced shortly afterwards by Harry Byrne, with Jack Crowley switching to the full-back position.

The 27-year-old Dubliner has become central to Andy Farrell’s plans in a short space of time, with his 15s international debut coming just over three years ago. He has accumulated more match minutes than any other player so far during Farrell’s coaching reign.

He has started 38 of Ireland’s last 42 Test matches, and Jimmy O’Brien and Michael Lowry are the only other players who have worn the number 15 jersey during that time.

Asked about Keenan’s likely availability for the third round of the Six Nations, Ireland forwards coach Paul O’Connell said: “Hugo didn’t train today, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the Welsh game yet.

“He’s progressing with his rehabilitation, he was there at training today and took part in the organisational bits, but I have no full update. He’s still available for selection for Wales, but I’m not sure what will happen in the next few days.

“He plays a big role, he’s obviously been injury-free for a long time. He’s an excellent player and in full-back, covering the back-field defensively, he has a lot of work to do in attack as well, recreating our attack by moving side to side.

“There’s a lot of IP (intellectual property) there that we might miss out on if he wasn’t playing. He also plays a big leadership role for us, he’s a very smart guy.

“He’s a problem-solver within the group and highly regarded within the group. Whether he’s there or not, he’ll continue to play that role.”

Keenan has had a strong start to the tournament, with his individual highlights including his try-saving tackles on Damian Penaud, including one which drove the French dangerman back a few feet, and an electric break against Italy from Craig Casey’s kick over the top.

He has an 85.7% tackle success rate, including two dominant hits and a turnover tackle. In attack, he has had gain-line success with two-thirds of his carries in the Championship, and has the team’s best tackle evasion rate of 47.1%.

If the Leinster star is ruled out when Ireland resume their campaign next week, the versatile Ciaran Frawley, Jordan Larmour, Jacob Stockdale, Calvin Nash, or indeed Crowley, could be options to fill the full-back berth.

Larmour, who returned to international action last Sunday for the first time since 2021, made nine starts at full-back between 2018 and 2020. Farrell handed him the number 15 shirt for his first game in charge of Ireland four years ago.

Last August against Italy, Frawley made his debut as a half-time replacement for O’Brien at full-back. He has started six times in the position for Leinster this season, with Stockdale, Nash and Crowley also having provincial experience in the back-field.

As O’Brien and Mack Hansen are also injury-enforced absentees, O’Connell admits that it could provide an opportunity to build more depth in that area if Keenan is unable to recover in time.

“It’s good for us in some ways because it makes us play someone else there if he doesn’t make it,” commented the Limerick man, who is in his fourth Men’s Six Nations campaign as part of the Ireland coaching group.

“I’m not sure yet, I don’t pay as much attention to the backs, but I’m not sure yet where  Hugo is at. As I said, he was around training today, so we’d be hopeful.”

Meanwhile, Garry Ringrose is on track to play some part against Wales at the Aviva Stadium having returned to training. He missed the opening two rounds due to a shoulder injury.

“Yeah it looks like it, he trained today,” O’Connell said of Ringrose. “We didn’t do a massive session today but he trained today and was in good shape.

“No one else sat out training, no, so they’re all good to go, I believe.”

That includes captain Peter O’Mahony (calf), Tadhg Furlong (calf), and Bundee Aki (knee), who all sat out the 36-0 bonus point victory over Italy as they recovered from their respective knocks.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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