Here are your Six Nations headlines for Friday, February 19.
Banned Adams has been “excellent”
Wales coach Stephen Jones says Josh Adams is desperate to put the Welsh jersey back on after serving his two-game ban for breaching Covid protocols last month.
The winger attended a close family gathering on January 31, the day after the full Wales squad were released from camp ahead of their Six Nations opener with Ireland.
Upon returning to camp two days later, the breach was raised and Adams was ultimately banned for two matches.
Head coach Wayne Pivac subsequently said that Adams had “embarrassed himself” and the 25-year-old issued an apology.
Jones says that the Cardiff Blues man has been “excellent” in training, and that Adams’ availability will create a real headache for selectors ahead of the England clash in Cardiff a week on Saturday.
“Excellent. He has been superb,” reported Jones on Thursday. “He has worked incredibly hard as you would expect from Josh, he is a great person. He has trained incredibly hard. He is desperate to put the Welsh jersey on, as is everybody in the group. He has been superb.
“Top try scorer in the World Cup, which is superb credit to Josh. Competition for places is what we want,” Jones added.
“It’s healthy and as we challenge ourselves daily to improve, results are starting to come now and it’s great. Strength in depth is what we want. Selection headaches, whatever way you want to term it, that is exactly what we want as coaches.”
England call up uncapped George Martin
England coach Eddie Jones has called up uncapped 19-year-old Leicester forward George Martin as a replacement for injured Jack Willis.
Willis left the field at Twickenham last weekend in agony, suffering an awful-looking knee injury in the win over Italy in south west London.
Jones has now filled the void left by Willis’ absence by calling on Martin who has made four appearances for the Tigers in this season’s Gallagher Premiership, two as a starter at blindside.
Martin will go straight into Jones’ squad for the match against Wales.
The RFU statement on Thursday afternoon read: “England have reconvened at their training base, The Lensbury, as they prepare for the next round of the Guinness Six Nations. George Martin has been called up to the 28-player squad, with Jack Willis ruled out of the tournament after suffering a knee injury in last weekend’s win over Italy.
“Eddie Jones’ side will travel to Cardiff next week where they will play Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, February 27. They will then face France at Twickenham on March 13 before travelling to Dublin to play Ireland on March 20 in their final game.”
Scotland v Wales attracts huge audience
Wales’ clash with Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend attracted a peak audience of 6.7million viewers.
The tight game, eventually edged by the visitors by one point, saw the joint best figures for a Six Nations game not involving England, according to BBC 5Live reporter Sonja McLaughlan.
She tweeted last night: “Knew it was a good game. You agreed: peak audience of 6.7m watched @Scotlandteam v @WelshRugbyUnion on @BBCOne. That’s the joint best figure for a game not involving England since start of BBC/ITV tv deal in 2016.”
Carling overlooks Louis Rees-Zammit
Will Carling has selected his Six Nations picks of the week for round two and has overlooked Wales’ Louis Rees-Zammit in his XV.
The England great instead plumped for England’s Anthony Watson and Ireland’s James Lowe as his wing picks.
Explaining his decision to pick Watson over the Welsh youngster, Carling said: “A tough call between Louis Rees-Zammit and Watson but the latter just edges it for scoring two tries and carrying a remarkable 160 metres.”
Rees-Zammit grabbed two tries of his own at Murrayfield in a man-of-the-match performance which surely sees him as shoo-in to face England at the Principality Stadium next Saturday.
You can see Carling’s full team selection here.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk