Friday, December 25, 2009

Dragons' Joe Bearman keen for Wales Six Nations spot

Dragons back-rower Joe Bearman says he is keen to be in Wales contention ahead of the Six Nations.

The 30-year-old was a hot tip for a first cap in the November Tests after qualifying for Wales by residency, but a groin injury spoiled his chances.

"I'd love to play for Wales, I don't hide that fact," Bearman told the BBC.

"I can just play hard and well, look after the Dragons and get some results under our belts. If it comes, it comes, if it doesn't, it doesn't."

Bearman has been a popular figure at Rodney Parade since his 2005 move from Cornish Pirates and he has now completed a three-year residential qualification.

BBC Sport understands the Wales camp contacted the Dragons in the autumn to ensure his paperwork was in order.

"I thought it was the tax man," joked Bearman. "[A potential Wales cap] would be the best day of my life."

The Londoner, who moved to Cornwall before his switch to Newport, specialises at number eight or blind-side, where he would be competing with Ryan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Andy Powell, Dan Lydiate, Gareth Delve and Dafydd Jones for a Wales spot.

His all-action, athletic style could also potentially translate to the open-side, where national coach Warren Gatland is desperately seeking a stand-in for the injured Martyn Williams.

Thomas and Dafydd Jones are also options in that position, along with dedicated open-sides Gavin Thomas, Richie Pugh, Sam Warburton and Robin Sowden-Taylor.

"I've loved living here, my girlfriend's family is half Welsh," said the 6ft 4ins, 17-stone Bearman.

"If I was ever asked to play for Wales it would be a great, great honour that I would grab with both hands."

While Bearman may be targeting a high-intensity international before a packed Millennium Stadium, he revealed that his career could have taken a very different path.

"I had a trial for Everton [Football Club] when I was about 12 years old," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"I was captain for our county, playing up front, when we went to a tournament on the Isle of Wight.

"We played against Manchester City and Manchester United in our group and I scored twice against United.

"There were a lot of scouts there so I went up [to Everton] for a week.

"But it was a big jump in standard and it didn't work out - I'm not on £100,000 a week!"

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