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Wales Name Experimental Side for Irish Clash

Wales will hand two players their test debuts when they face Ireland on Saturday

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Wales’ head coach Warren Gatland has confirmed his 23-man squad to face Ireland this Saturday at the Principality Stadium and there are two uncapped players poised to start.

Prop Rhys Carre and winger Owen Lane are both set to start on Saturday and make their international debuts. The duo have played in the same under-age Welsh sides and have been given a chance to impress.

Carre will be joined in the front-row by Scarlets’ Ryan Elias and Samson Lee, with Adam Beard and Bradley Davies behind them in the second-row.

Josh Navidi will captain the side from the back of the pack will have Aaron Shingler and James Davies with him.

Elsewhere, Jarrod Evans is to make his first start for the Welsh at scrum-half and will be joined in the half-backs by Aled Davies, while Owen Watkin and Scott Williams link-up in the centre.

Steff Evans is on the left-wing, with Lane on the right and Hallam Amos completing the XV from full-back.

Gatland is looking forward to having the two debutants on display and has admitted they could still make his 31-man Rugby World Cup squad if they impress.

“It is a great opportunity for Rhys and Owen, they have worked hard all summer to get to this point so it will be good for them to get their first international caps and put their hands up for RWC selection after the match,” he said.

He went on to heap praise on Navidi, whom he believes is fully deserving of the role of captain following some incredible displays in the Welsh jersey in recent times.

“For Josh, it’s a huge honour to be named captain, he has been hugely consistent for us, he has really impressed in the last couple of seasons and he will lead from the front of Saturday and it is a great compliment for him to be awarded the captaincy. Saturday is a really big game for the players and I’m really excited about the challenge for this Welsh team.  There is so much at stake in terms of RWC selection and with a number of positions still up for grabs it will be a huge game,” he added.

This will be Wales’ final home game before they head to Japan for the Rugby World Cup next month and as a result it will be Gatland’s last home game for the country as he is set to depart following the tournament.

Gatland will be hoping that his experimental side will put in a good showing as they look to build on their recent win over England which left them as the No 1 side in the World Rankings.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

15. Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues) (19 caps)

14. Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues) (uncapped)

13. Scott Williams (Ospreys) (57 caps)

12. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (15 caps)

11. Steff Evans (Scarlets) (12 caps)

10. Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (2 caps)

9. Aled Davies (Ospreys) (18 caps)

1. Rhys Carre (Saracens) (uncapped)

2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (7 caps)

3. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (40 caps)

4. Adam Beard (Ospreys) (14 caps)

5. Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (64 caps)

6. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (19 caps)

7. James Davies (Scarlets) (4 caps)

8. Josh Navidi (captain – Cardiff Blues) (17 caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (20 caps)

17. Rob Evans (Scarlets) (35 caps)

18. Leon Brown (Dragons) (5 caps)

19. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (34 caps)

20. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (33 caps)

21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (7 caps)

22. Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (11 caps)

23. Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers) (2 caps)


International

Savea back at the helm of the Hurricanes

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All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea will captain the Hurricanes again for the 2023 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.

Savea, who will have his 11th season in the side, will mark his first appearance in the competition by playing his 120th game.

The Hurricanes’ season opens against the Reds in round one.

Savea said: “I’m looking forward to the season, especially getting out to the communities, when we play in Levin against the Crusaders for our pre-season game and Palmerston North against the Western Force on Sunday, April 2.

“We’ve just moved into our new facility, and there’s something awesome about change; it’s brought in a lot of energy. It’s refreshing to come in and be in a new space alongside other professional teams. Hopefully, being here can help us move forward and prepare well for our games.”

The facility is part of the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport at what was the Central Institute of Technology at Trentham and houses, several Wellington-based teams.

Coach Jason Holland was delighted to be able to call on Savea’s leadership ability again.

“Ardie is a special leader. He’s the sort of guy you want to follow in whatever he does. He’s worked hard at his leadership around all the small details, around how to get the best out of the people around him.

“He’s been good at driving us as a group, players and management, about being well-planned and clear in our roles in what we’re leading.

“Ards has a great relationship with all the boys and cares about them and the team and that shows in the way he leads.”

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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International

Marshall primed for Crusaders coaching opportunity

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James Marshall couldn’t escape rugby’s draw after retiring from playing and failed in his promised avoidance of the coaching ranks.

The former Super Rugby title winner with the Hurricanes has fitted into coaching so well that he will spend 2023 as backs coach for the Crusaders in Super Rugby Pacific.

Auckland-born Marshall started his rugby career with Tasman, but when missing a place in the Super Rugby structure, in a team or wider training group, he had a chance as a 20-year-old to play in Italy with Zebre.

It proved a stimulating experience in coping with playing a different style of rugby at a different level.

He returned to New Zealand six months later for another three seasons with Tasman before getting a chance in the Hurricanes’ wider squad. He had spent four years trying to get a place in the Crusaders.

“I could never crack it as a player but I’m here now as a coach,” he said.

“It is surreal to be here now. When I finished rugby, I promised my wife I wouldn’t get into coaching. We had moved around so many times during my career, even when I was playing for the Hurricanes moving to Taranaki every six months.

“We worked it out there were well over 20 houses we lived in throughout my career so when I got to the end of it I did say I wouldn’t be chasing the coaching dream, and I wouldn’t be moving the family around any more.”

However, back in Nelson, he got the chance to work with Andrew Goodman and Shane Christie, which gave him coaching work where he had decided to settle.

“Then a couple of years later,, I get a call from Razor [Scott Robertson] and it really throws a spanner in the works for my wife and when I got the opportunity, it was a no brainer. It’s such a good opportunity for me to learn and see where coaching can now take me.”

He contacted David Havili to see if he felt Marshall could do the job asked of him as backs coach and to see if he would have the backing of the players.

Havili got back in touch to say how much he thought Marshall could add to the environment. He also contacted some of his Hurricanes contacts and admitted being surprised at how supportive they were.

The Crusaders were one of the most successful sides in the sport’s history, and looking from the outside while playing, he had always wondered what went on and how they did it.

“It’s been impressive. It’s a well-run ship. Razor does a great job. Scotty Hansen, the detail he has on the rugby programme. Tamati Ellison, some of his coaching, it’s all world-class.

“It’s been awesome for me as a young coach to witness these guys at work and try and learn as much as I can off them.

“There’s also the players. It’s a pretty impressive squad when you look at it on paper and the chance to work with some world-class athletes and try and teach them as much as I can, but also try and learn from them,” he said.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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6 Nations

RTÉ And Virgin Media Confirm Details Of Free-To-Air Six Nations Coverage

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RTÉ and Virgin Media Television today announced details of its joint Guinness Six Nations coverage, where the action will be free-to-air for supporters in the Republic of Ireland.

Kicking off on Friday, 3 February, this year’s Six Nations coverage will include all fixtures from Ireland’s Men’s, Women’s and U20 tournaments.

The partnership will see all games equally aired across both broadcasters again this year.

The 2023 Men’s Six Nations will open with Ireland v Wales on Virgin Media One, followed by England v Scotland on RTÉ2. Ireland will then take on current champions France on Saturday, 11 February.

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations will begin on Sunday, 26 March with Wales v Ireland.

Speaking at this morning’s launch at the Aviva Stadium, presenters Jacqui Hurley and Joe Molloy were joined on stage by members of their broadcast teams this year including pundits Rob Kearney, Fiona Hayes (Virgin Media Television), and RTÉ’s Jamie Heaslip and Hannah Tyrrell.

RTÉ also confirmed that Irish international and Munster player Simon Zebo will be joining their punditry team.

Commenting, Head of RTÉ Sport, Declan McBennett said: “With this being a great year for rugby, there is added excitement about this year’s Six Nations which RTÉ is once again bringing to sports fans all over the country free-to-air along with Virgin Media Ireland as part of our historic partnership which we launched last year.

“It’s going to be a huge year for Irish rugby and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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