Wales set to un­leash ‘new JPR’ in sum­mer tour squad

The Rugby Paper - - News - ■ By PETER JACK­SON

WALES are be­ing urged to take a teenage full-back on tour next month for the first time since JPR Wil­liams al­most half a cen­tury ago.

Rhun Wil­liams has emerged as a con­tender on the strength of his de­but sea­son for Cardiff Blues at 19 – the same age as his fa­mous pre­de­ces­sor when Wales un­leashed him on the world stage in Ar­gentina in 1968.

“I’ll be amazed if Rhun is not in the squad,’’ Blues chair­man Peter Thomas told The Rugby Pa­per. “He is a spe­cial player. This tour is the perfect op­por­tu­nity to give new blood a chance.”

Wil­liams has al­ready been in­volved with the full Wales squad. They called him in to train with the se­nior play­ers days be­fore he made his PRO12 de­but for the Blues against Tre­viso on Novem­ber 4.

Wales name their squad on Tues­day for the South Pa­cific trip need­ing to fill large holes in sev­eral po­si­tions, not least at full-back with Leigh Half­penny and Liam Wil­liams on Lions duty in New Zealand.

Wil­liams is not the only novice un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. Adam Beard, the Ospreys’ 21-year-old, 6ft 8in lock, is also in the run­ning for the matches against Tonga and Samoa.

Kee­lan Giles and St­eff Evans, by some dis­tance the best un­capped wings in Wales, can ex­pect to make the be­lated bows de­nied them dur­ing the Six Na­tions.

Ospreys scrum-half Tom Hab­ber­field is an­other of the new brigade push­ing for se­lec­tion in a po­si­tion headed by Gareth Davies in the ab­sence of the Lions­bound Rhys Webb. Hab­ber­field’s abil­ity to dou­ble up as a wing, where he ap­peared for the Ospreys yes­ter­day, strength­ens his claim.

Wales are ex­pected to pick all those se­nior play­ers who missed the Lions cut, in­clud­ing Jamie Roberts, thereby sur­round­ing the new­com­ers with hard-nosed ex­pe­ri­ence. They failed to do that in Ja­pan dur­ing the last Lions tour four years ago and paid the price, scrap­ing home in the first Test at Osaka be­fore be­ing out­played 23-8 in Tokyo seven days later.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.