Friday, December 11, 2009

Gethin Jenkins takes over as Wales captain from injured Ryan Jones

Gethin Jenkins will tomorrow become Wales's fourth captain this year after Ryan Jones pulled out of the side with a back strain sustained while weight training this week. The last time the Lions prop led his country was the match before Warren Gatland took over as head coach at the end of 2007 and he was overlooked when Jones missed two Six Nations matches this year; the armband went first to Martyn Williams and then to Alun Wyn Jones.

Off the back of an exhilarating and somewhat exhausting Autumn series, Rugby Unions international focus is now shifting firmly to next years RBS Six Nations. Off the back of their hard fought 15-10 win over the reigning world champions, Ireland will be more confident than ever of retaining their title and winning their third grand slam. RBS Six Nations Hospitality for all of the fixtures in this years hotly anticipated competition are currently on sale at corporatehospitalitygroup.

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Wales will miss Ryan Jones, who has rediscovered his best form this season. Andy Powell moves to No8, with Dan Lydiate, who is 22 next month, coming off the bench to take over at blindside flanker after winning his first cap as a replacement against Argentina last week. Two years ago this month, Lydiate feared he would never walk again after breaking his neck playing for Newport Gwent Dragons in Perpignan.

"Pulling on the Wales jersey is like putting on armour for battle," he said. "You almost feel like Superman." He will be up against the Australia captain, Rocky Elsom, regarded as a superhero by Leinster supporters last season and if Wales have the more prolific finishers, the Wallabies have the edge up front and in the back row. Wales talk about owning the sky and kicking is likely to prevail, but the day will surely come again when players are encouraged to reach for the sky, not just because that is where the ball will be coming from.

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