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Welsh Warrior to Play Trade Outside Wales Post-World Cup?

One of Wales’ finest players may make a move away from the country after the World Cup

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(Photo credit PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Image)

Alun Wyn Jones’ future with the Ospreys is in doubt after his duel contract with the Welsh Rugby Union and the Ospreys runs out at the end of the season.

The Welsh captain has spent his entire career with the Ospreys, but fans expect and are even encouraging the lock to seek a move elsewhere after Shane Williams said his future needed to be sorted.

Jones has previously turned down the chance to move abroad for a better contract, instead remaining in Wales and being a loyal servant to both his country and club.

Having made 125 caps for Wales, their Grand Slam winning captain would be eligible to continue playing for the country if he did move as he more than doubles the required 60-caps for overseas-based players.

Many are already speculating that Jones will be the British & Irish Lions captain for the 2021 tour of South Africa, but some fear a move abroad would prevent Warren Gatland from picking him.

Fans seem to think that Jones deserves to earn more overseas in the twilight of his career and set himself up for a more stable future come the end of his glittering career.

A move to England or France would be most likely with Harlequins fans calling on the club to make a move for Jones after losing Aussie James Horwill this season.

Another possibility for the 33-year-old could be a big-money move to Japan. Either way most of the clubs in Europe or Japan can offer Jones a significant salary rise which he could be tempted by.

6 Nations

Ireland name Six Nations Squad

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

The Ireland coaching group have selected a squad of 36 players for the upcoming 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Jonathan Sexton will captain the squad for a second Six Nations campaign and there are two uncapped players included – Munster scrum half Craig Casey and Ulster prop Tom O’Toole.

O’Toole was named in the Ireland panel at the start of the 2020 Championship, while Casey, who won a Grand Slam with the Ireland Under-20s in 2019, trained with the squad last October.

Ireland have just two fixtures at the Aviva Stadium in the 2021 Six Nations, hosting France in the second round and England during the final weekend of the tournament.

In the opening round Ireland will take on Wayne Pivac’s Wales at the Principality Stadium. Their first two games of the 2021 Championships against Wales and France will both take place on Sunday afternoons.

Ireland’s third round match is at the Stadio Olimpico against Italy, and in the penultimate round they will face Scotland.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell commented: “Since the autumn international window, the club season has had a good few disruptions and the cancellation of the European fixtures means there have been less opportunities for players to show form or to return from injury and get some minutes under their belts.

Tadhg (Furlong) hasn’t played in quite a while but he is ready to join the group. Unfortunately Jacob (Stockdale) will not be available to us.”

All Ireland games will be televised on Virgin Media in the Republic of Ireland, and on ITV (v France, Italy & England) and BBC (v Wales & Scotland) in Northern Ireland.

Ireland Squad – 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship:

Player/Club/Province/Caps –

Backs (17):

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 30
Billy Burns (Ulster) 3
Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 11
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster) *
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 24
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 88
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 14
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 5
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 47
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster) 6
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 24
James Lowe (Leinster) 2
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster) 4
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 87
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 30
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt) 95

Forwards (19):

Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 17
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster) 5
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 7
Ultan Dillane (Galway Corinthians/Connacht) 17
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 25
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 104
Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 5
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 58
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 16
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) 6
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 39
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 73
Tom O’Toole (Banbridge/Ulster) *
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 32
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 16
Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 26
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 32
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 46
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 28

* Denotes uncapped player

Ireland 2021 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures:

Wales v IRELAND

Principality Stadium, Cardiff

Sunday 7th February, KO 15.00

VIRGIN / BBC

IRELAND v France

Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Sunday 14th February, KO 15.00

VIRGIN / ITV

Italy v IRELAND

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Saturday 27th February, KO 14.15

VIRGIN / ITV

Scotland v IRELAND

BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Sunday 14th March, KO 15.00

VIRGIN / BBC

IRELAND v England

Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Saturday 20th March, KO 16.45

VIRGIN / ITV

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6 Nations

Pivac names squad for 2021 Six Nations

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Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

Wales have named a 36-man squad for the forthcoming 2021 Guinness Six Nations campaign.

The squad features one uncapped player, Scarlets back-row Josh Macleod, who was named in the autumn squad last year but didn’t feature after picking up an injury before the campaign began.

Four players who made their international debuts in that campaign, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Johnny Williams and Louis Rees-Zammit are all included.

Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones and Rhodri Jones (last appearance for Wales v South Africa in 2018) are named as the looseheads in the squad with Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias and Ken Owens (who missed the autumn campaign through injury) the hookers. Leon Brown, Tomas Francis and Dillon Lewis are the three named tight-heads.

Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Will Rowlands and Cory Hill are included as the second-rows.

Dan Lydiate returns to the international set-up (last appearance v Australia in 2018) and is named alongside Josh Navidi, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Macleod and Justin Tipuric.

Hardy who made his debut back in November is named as one of three scrum-halves along with Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams, who has returned from injury. Dan Biggar, Jarrod Evans and Sheedy are the three fly-halves.

Johnny Williams, Jonathan Davies, Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin are named as the centres with George North, Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Rees-Zammit, Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams named as Wales’ back-three options.

“We are hugely looking forward to meeting up as a squad on Monday and to the forthcoming campaign,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

“The Guinness Six Nations is an important tournament and we have selected a squad accordingly.

“As we consistently spoke about, the autumn for us was about opportunity and development, looking ahead to RWC 2023 and it served that purpose for us.

“This campaign is different, it is tournament rugby and we are excited to get going and to play our part.

“We have picked a squad for this tournament based on form and we are excited to meet up on Monday and to get our preparation underway.”

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Scotland name Six Nations squad.

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has named a 35-man squad for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, which begins with the Calcutta Cup clash vs England on Saturday 6 February.

The group, split between 20 forwards and 15 backs, sees eight new players called up who did not feature in the group that contested the recent 2020 Autumn Nations Cup.

Players who could potentially make their Scotland debuts include Edinburgh hooker, David Cherry, Sale hooker Ewan Ashman, Gloucester forward, Alex Craig and Bath centre, Cameron Redpath.

Returning to the squad are also Newcastle Falcons back rower, Gary Graham, Sale Sharks wing, Byron McGuigan, Glasgow Warriors hooker, Grant Stewart and London Irish prop Alan Dell.

In the pack Glasgow Warriors hooker George Turner is selected and joined in the front row by Zander Fagerson and Oli Kebble from Glasgow Warriors, alongside Edinburgh Rugby representatives WP Nel, Rory Sutherland and Simon Berghan.

Glasgow Warriors’ lock pairing Richie Gray and Scott Cummings, Exeter Chief, Jonny Gray are called up, along with Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist who left the ANC squad with an injury before the opening match.

Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie, who have both recently re-signed to long-term deals to stay at Edinburgh Rugby, are joined as back-row options by Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson and Scarlet’s Blade Thomson.

Gregor Townsend has chosen just two scrum-half’s for this campaign with Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price and Harlequins’ Scott Steele selected.

Linking up at half-back will be Racing 92’s Finn Russell who returns following an injury sustained in the concluding match of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations vs Wales and Edinburgh’s Jaco Van de Walt who made his Scotland debut in the ANC semi-final against Ireland.

Gloucester’s Chris Harris, Saracen Duncan Taylor, Glasgow Warrior Huw Jones and Harlequins’ James Lang are selected at centre.

In the back three Scotland Captain Stuart Hogg is joined by Edinburgh Rugby trio Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham and Duhan van de Merwe and Saracens’ Sean Maitland.

With an eye to the future three additional players have been invited to train with the squad during the campaign. Edinburgh Rugby back row forward, Rory Darge, Glasgow Warriors pair winger, Rufus MacLean and scrum-half, Jamie Dobie will join up with the squad, which goes into camp on Sunday.

Speaking on the squad selection Gregor Townsend said: “As coaches we have selected a group which we believe can build on the work our players put in throughout the recent Autumn Nations Cup campaign and kick on again in terms of performance levels.

“The depth we have across the squad enables us to bring in some new players who have excelled in recent weeks and others who we believe can perform at Test level.

“Our tournament gets off to a fantastic start with a fixture we look forward to every year against England and the opportunity to win back the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham.

“We are very aware how different this year’s competition will be due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it also provides a huge amount of positivity and enjoyment for millions of supporters and we are looking forward to contesting every match and giving this championship our very best.”

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