The Boyos Down Under

The Boyos Down Under

The locals at The Hen and Chickens in Abergavenny will have confidence that their boyos will perform good deeds Down Under when the Welsh arrive for the June Test Series.

Sam the Man

And why wouldn’t they? The last few times they’ve played the Wallabies, in the RWC quarter-final (21-18) and in the December 2011 Test (24-18), they’ve been a clear and present danger.

This mixture of hardened test players and young Taff talent stepped-up to take the Six Nations title earlier this year.

The WRU named the 38 man touring side this week and, apart from a few notable omissions due to unavailability and injury, this is a formidable unit.

The trouble with a lot of Welsh teams of the past is that they always perform better at home than they do on tour. I’m not sure that you could include this group in that category.

They have talent in some depth and are going to provide the Wallabies with a stern test, at least three of them anyway. The First Test is in Brisbane on 9 June.

Fullback Lee Byrne is missing due to his French club (Clermont Auvergne) Top 14 Final’s commitment but is on standby if needed later in the tour.

Unavailable due to injury are Cardiff Blues centre Jamie Roberts and Neath Swansea Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett.

Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Jones will both miss the First Test due to marriage and wedding (sister) commitments respectively.

The WRU has received permission from the French Rugby Union that allows Bayonne scrum-half Mike Phillips and utility back James Hook, who plays for Perpignan, a release to tour.

The 21 May (squad assembly) date falls outside the formal IRB date of release for players involved in international duty.

Openside Sam Warburton will continue as captain after leading the Welsh to Grand Slam victory in the Six Nations. He has just returned from a nerve related shoulder injury.

The twelve Ospreys contingent in the squad will join a week after the team officially meets up on 21 May as they play Leinster in the Rabodirect Pro 12 Final on 27 May.

Caretaker Coach Rob Howley has opted for four uncapped players, with Scarlet Liam Williams, his regional team-mate, prop, Rhodri Jones, Ospreys centre Ashley Beck and Blues wing Harry Robinson (promoted from the Wales U20 squad) all winning call-ups.

The likes of centre Andrew Bishop, Scarlets flanker Josh Turnbull and Dragons wings Aled Brew and Will Harries join Dan Biggar in winning recalls, while Blues flanker Martyn Williams was officially named in the squad as he prepares to win his 100th cap.

On Saturday, June 2, the Welsh play hosts to the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium. Seven days later, they face Australia in Brisbane.

The end result will be the creation of two completely different teams as realistically, there was no way the same group of players could start both matches.

Instead, the starting XV for the First Wallaby Test will head to Australia on 31 May, two days prior to the Baa-Baas game.

This is how the likely two squad’s are looking:

Wales' two teams for the summer

In the main, the team that beat France at the Millennium Stadium on 17 March will be the one that takes the field in Brisbane.

Yet there will have to be a couple of changes out of necessity. The absence of Jamie Roberts following knee surgery creates a vacancy in the centres.

Llanelli Scarlets Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams are the likely centre pairing although they have been recently nursing groin and shoulder injuries respectively.

To lose your two current first-choice locks (marriage/wedding) might have been a real body blow in the past, but Wales are fortunate to have excellent strength in depth in that position and two quality internationals to step into the role in Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris.

The one other position where there’s a question mark is hooker, with Matthew Rees facing a race against time to recover from an ankle injury.

Fellow Scarlet Ken Owens and Osprey Richard Hibbard are the two backup contenders.As it stands though, Wales are optimistic Rees will be able to join Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones in a Lions Test front row.

Wales Squad

Backs: Ashley Beck (Ospreys), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Aled Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Will Harries (Newport Gwent Dragons), James Hook (Perpignan/FRA), George North (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Bayonne/FRA), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Harry Robinson (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets)

Forwards: Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), Rhys Gill (Saracens/ENG), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Paul James (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues)


2 June: Wales v Barbarians, Cardiff

9 June: Australia v Wales, 1st Test, Brisbane

12 June: ACT Brumbies v Wales, Canberra

16 June: Australia v Wales, 2nd Test, Melbourne

23 June: Australia v Wales, 3rd Test, Sydney


Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

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