Wales captain Ken Owens.Photo: OFFALY EXPRESS
Wales captain Ken Owens.Photo: OFFALY EXPRESS

Owens backs Wales

Wales captain Ken Owens said on Saturday his side will "raise some eyebrows" at this year's Rugby World Cup - despite finishing fifth in the Six Nations.

Wales won just once during the Championship and open their World Cup campaign against Fiji in Bordeaux on 8 September.

Warren Gatland returned as head coach for the annual tournament after Wayne Pivac's sacking in December and walked into a quagmire of off-field wrangles.

In January, the chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) Steve Phillips resigned after allegations of a "toxic culture" at the governing body, with claims of sexism, racism and homophobia made by former employees.

Last month, a player strike over contract problems was cancelled just days before a loss to England.

Earlier on Saturday, the WRU announced their professional sides could finally offer new contracts to players after months of discussion.

Last Six Nations

"I was proud of the players' efforts all campaign," Owens told reporters after a 41-28 loss to France.

"The more time we spend together, the better we get. We will raise some eyebrows at the World Cup," he added.

Owens turned 36 in January and was one nine players aged 30 or over in Wales' side during the loss to World Cup hosts France.

"Personally and for a lot of the boys, it probably is going to be our last Six Nations game. It's got to come at some point," Owens said.

"We spoke about showing character and having a special occasion for Taulupe Faletau's 100th and Dillon Lewis' 50th," he added.

Owens was absent for a training camp in Nice last week as he returned to Wales for the birth of his second child.

"It's been an interesting week. I had to leave the boys on Tuesday night to fly back. I didn’t train much this week,” he added.

"I’ll be back with the family and hopefully [Scarlets head coach] Dwayne Peel gives me a nice week off to enjoy with the family," he added.


Allgemeine Zeitung 2023-06-07

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