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AFP
January 21, 2021

No place for Priestland as Wales’ Pivac picks Evans for Six Nations

Sports

AFP
January 21, 2021

LONDON: Wales coach Wayne Pivac named Cardiff Blues fly-half Jarrod Evans in a 36-man squad for the Six Nations on Wednesday as he decided against recalling Bath’s in-form Rhys Priestland.

The 34-year-old Priestland, who has scored 47 points in five games this term, last played a Test in 2017 after moving to England but has been linked with a move back to his home country at the end of the season.

Evans is the only fly-half in the squad at a Welsh region, with first-choice No. 10 Dan Biggar at Northampton Saints and Callum Sheedy also at an English side in Bristol Bears.

Scarlets back-row Josh MacLeod is the lone uncapped player in the squad, with captain Alun Wyn Jones and fellow seasoned forwards Ken Owens and Josh Navidi all selected after injury concerns.

Wales won just three of their 10 Tests under Pivac last year, their only victories coming twice against perennial Six Nations strugglers Italy and Georgia.

They finished fifth in the Six Nations in Pivac’s first season in charge after succeeding fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland. Former Scarlets head coach Pivac insisted his squad were making progress ahead of the next Rugby World Cup.

“As we consistently spoke about, the autumn for us was about opportunity and development, looking ahead to Rugby World Cup 2023 and it served that purpose for us,” Pivac said.

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

Wales begin the Championship at home to Ireland on February 7.

Wales squad

Backs

Full-backs/wings: Liam Williams (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester/ENG), Hallam Amos (Cardiff Blues), George North (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues).

Centres: Johnny Williams (Scarlets), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Nick Tompkins (Dragons), Owen Watkin (Ospreys).

Fly-halves: Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints/ENG), Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears/ENG), Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues)

Scrum-halves: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets).

Forwards:

Back-row: Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Taulupe Faletau (Bath/ENG) Josh MacLeod (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).

Locks: Jake Ball (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Will Rowlands (Wasps/ENG), Cory Hill (Cardiff Blues).

Hookers: Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets).

Props: Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Leon Brown (Dragons), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs/ENG), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues).

Fixtures (times GMT): Feb 07: v Ireland, Principality Stadium, Cardiff (1500); Feb 13: v Scotland, Murrayfield, Edinburgh (1645); Feb 27: v England, Cardiff (1645); Mar 13: v Italy, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (1415); Mar 20: v France, Stade de France, Paris (2000).