Six Nations 2021: Outdated Wales guard and new blood – assessing Wayne Pivac’s choices
Who to choose, who to drop and who to recall – it’s time to assess the gamers Wales coach Wayne Pivac may choose for the 2021 Six Nations.
Wales have received solely three aggressive video games out of 10 since Pivac took cost in late 2019 and want to begin positively within the Six Nations opener towards Eire on 7 February.
BBC Sport Wales assesses a number of the faces – outdated, new and unfamiliar – who might get the decision when Pivac names his squad on Wednesday.
Return of the outdated guard?
Whereas the autumn message was about constructing for the 2023 World Cup, there was a lot discuss Wales’ 2021 Six Nations squad, together with a number of the star names of the category of 2011, all of whom are actually approaching their mid-30s.
Bathtub fly-half Rhys Priestland, 34, has not appeared for Wales since 2017 however is a participant who has discovered kind once more this season, proving a dependable pivot guiding Bathtub across the ruthless fields of the English Premiership.
A return to Wales at Cardiff Blues is on the playing cards and that would give Pivac the excuse he wants to herald Priestland from the chilly instantly. In-form Blues fly-half Jarrod Evans, 24, can be a youthful contender alongside Dan Biggar and Callum Sheedy.
If accidents lately weren’t sufficient to make Dan Lydiate surprise if he would ever return to the worldwide fray, he has since needed to watch as a succession of back-row kids have risen to prominence.
But when Wales need to win fast turnover ball, the 33-year-old Ospreys flanker’s chop-tackling may present the alternatives for Justin Tipuric to do exactly that… once more.
Dragons centre Jamie Roberts, 34,has been turning again time in latest weeks, displaying deft touches with the ball as nicely has his acquainted gain-line experience. As Wales have lacked gamers capable of make the exhausting yards below Pivac, Roberts may but rekindle his hopes of topping 100 caps for his nation.
New blood, squad bolters?
Scarlets back-rower Josh Macleod was getting ready to a debut cap within the autumn having been named as an uncapped participant just for a torn hamstring to scupper his hopes.
Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall has been the shape quantity 9 within the Premiership this season below Pat Lam and will have to decide on between Wales and England.
Half-back accomplice Callum Sheedy ended hypothesis over his worldwide loyalties by accepting Pivac’s overtures. An omen, maybe?
Again from damage?
Cardiff Blues flanker Josh Navidi’s go-forward presence has been missed throughout his absence with concussion. Navidi’s versatility can be a bonus, giving Pivac the choice to choose him wherever within the back-row. His area say he’s near returning and he can be a welcome addition.
Scarlets skipper Ken Owens is because of comeback from a shoulder damage after lacking the autumn programme and Wales desperately missed his dynamism.
Pivac has used 5 scrum-halves in latest occasions and needed to do with out Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams within the autumn.
In a group in search of to range ways and hold opposition guessing, Williams’ solo menace and hyperlink work could possibly be essential to Pivac’s plans.
Ball in Pivac’s court docket
What to do with the departing Jake Ball is one other conundrum for the Wales coach. Life in Australia beckons for Ball on the finish of the season when he joins up together with his household.
With Pivac constructing in direction of the 2023 World Cup and captain Alun Wyn Jones now 35 and fighting a knee damage, does Pivac stick to Ball or decide on one other lock to deliver stability amid that transition?
Ospreys lock Adam Beard was not noted of the autumn squad however has been in kind for his area and could possibly be due for a recall.
There are a selection of long-term absentees who’re set to overlook the event, with Rhys Patchell, Gareth Anscombe, Aaron Shingler and Ellis Jenkins all out, whereas Scarlets props Rob Evans and Samson Lee present no indicators of returning quickly.