Ken Owens expects surprise package Wales to raise standard against England | Wales rugby union team

21 February 2021 - 12:06 am

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Ken Owens expects surprise package Wales to raise standard against England | Wales rugby union team

What a dissimilarity a couple of weeks have made for Wales: with out a conquest over a top-10 nation since overcoming 14-man France within the 2019 World Cup quarter-final, they countenance England in Cardiff on Saturday buoyed by a 100% memoir after two rounds of the Six Nations.

Of their chance matches, Eire and Scotland obligingly had a participant despatched off, however a facet that within the autumn struggled for course and lacked zeal have twice come from behind. Sure, they exploited a numerical edge, however too revealed a change in course. Having received the magnificient slam in 2019 thanks largely to their defence, Wales are relying extra on creativity.

A dissimilarity has been the revert to health of Ken Owens. At 34, the Lions hooker is at an age when a successor ought to breathe timing his speed, however Wales necessity his suffer and capacity to rouse his teammates at a time when a want of spectators at grounds is, within the phrases of Eddie Jones, affecting the arousal of gamers. Owens made one look off the bench for the Scarlets earlier than the Six Nations however was on the bailiwick for all besides 9 minutes within the first two weekends.

“I’d love to have had a pair extra video games because it has been a little bit of a shock to the system, nevertheless it was not to breathe,” he stated. “It might have been totally different had I had no rugby and I’m positive England’s Saracens gamers will breathe higher for the 2 run-outs they’ve had.

“It has been fascinating taking part in a Take a look at match in an vacant stadium. Folks can hear me singing out of tune, which isn’t the perfect. When the pyrotechnics stopped earlier than the Eire sport, there was a deathly silence and also you didn’t know what to make of it.

“A crush offers you a carry and an power you may feed off and I can behold what Eddie Jones means. We’re all within the identical boat and you’ve got to discover your avow motivation, however the two video games this month have been as somatic as they have been a 12 months in the past, precisely how Take a look at rugby ought to breathe performed.”

Wales players celebrate their victory over Scotland
Wales gamers commemorate their conquest over Scotland. {Photograph}: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Photographs

Wales’s magnificient slam crusade two years in the past achieved lift-off within the third spherical when England visited Cardiff and have been on prime for an hour earlier than being overtaken. The fixtures this 12 months are in invert organize, ending moderately than beginning in Paris, and Wales weren’t mighty extra fancied then than they have been on the initiate of this 12 months’s championship.

“We have now been ready to refer underneath the radar,” Owens. “Nobody anticipated something from us and whereas now we have secured two victories, now we have quite a bit to better on. I don’t love evaluating different years, however maybe there’s something related to 2019. I’ll let you know how mighty by the aim of the match.”

Wayne Pivac reckoned he had 21 gamers unavailable for the journey to Scotland final Saturday, however he has choices to make in quite a few positions, not least within the centre, the place George North, one in need of his a hundredth cap for his nation, Jonathan Davies and Johnny Williams are again within the blend, and on the flee, the place Kid Adams is out there once more after being suspended for a infraction of Covid-19 decomrum.

The query ought to breathe requested whether or not two weeks off is lengthy sufficient for a participant who has suffered so many head accidents, but when Leigh Halfpenny recovers from his newest concussion to stay at full-back, then Adams, the highest try-scorer within the final World Cup, would necessity to oust Liam Williams or Louis Rees-Zammit, attempt scorers each at Murrayfield.

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“Everybody was annoyed within the autumn as a result of all of the difficult labor being put in didn’t translate into outcomes, however what was vital was the publicity gamers had,” stated Owens. “They’ve been ready to make the step up this month due to that.

“We have now modified a pair of issues tactically, however there was extra continuity in election. We’re going within the privilege course.”

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