Rugby

Six Nations 2021: Previous Wales guard and new blood – assessing Wayne Pivac’s choices

Dan Lydiate (proper) was captain alongside Rhys Priestland when Wales confronted Georgia in November 2017

Who to choose, who to drop and who to recall – it’s time to assess the gamers Wales coach Wayne Pivac would possibly choose for the 2021 Six Nations.

Wales have gained solely three aggressive video games out of 10 since Pivac took cost in late 2019 and want to start out positively within the Six Nations opener in opposition to Eire on 7 February.

BBC Sport Wales assesses among the faces – outdated, new and unfamiliar – who could get the decision when Pivac names his squad on Wednesday.

Return of the outdated guard?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 among the star names of the category of 2011, all of whom at the moment are approaching their mid-30s.

Bathtub fly-half Rhys Priestland, 34, has not appeared for Wales since 2017 however is a participant who has discovered type 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 might give Pivac the excuse he wants to usher in 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 in recent times 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 children have risen to prominence.

But when Wales need to win fast turnover ball, the 33-year-old Ospreys flanker’s chop-tackling might 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 effectively has his acquainted gain-line experience. As Wales have lacked gamers in a position to make the onerous yards beneath Pivac, Roberts could yet rekindle his hopes of topping 100 caps for his nation.

New blood, squad bolters?

Scarlets back-rower Josh Macleod was on the point of 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 beneath Pat Lam and will have to decide on between Wales and England.

Harry Randall has performed for England at under-20 stage

Half-back accomplice Callum Sheedy ended hypothesis over his worldwide loyalties by accepting Pivac’s overtures. An omen, maybe?

Again from harm?

Cardiff Blues flanker Josh Navidi’s go-forward presence has been missed throughout his absence with concussion. Navidi’s versatility can also 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 harm after lacking the autumn programme and Wales desperately missed his dynamism.

Pivac has used 5 scrum-halves in latest instances and needed to do with out Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams within the autumn.

In a staff searching for to range techniques and maintain opposition guessing, Williams’ solo menace and hyperlink work might be essential to Pivac’s plans.

Ball in Pivac’s courtroom

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 the direction of the 2023 World Cup and captain Alun Wyn Jones now 35 and scuffling with a knee harm, does Pivac follow Ball or decide on one other lock to deliver stability amid that transition?

Ospreys lock Adam Beard was unnoticed of the autumn squad however has been in type for his area and might 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.

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