World Cup skipper Colin Charvis, currentlyplaying for second division French club Tarbes, retains the captaincy in theWales' Six Nations squad named by coach Steve Hansen on Monday. Wales, hoping to build on encouraging displays in the World Cupagainst New Zealand and England, kick off their Six Nations campaign at home toScotland on February 14. Only two of the squad - Charvis and Leeds back-row forward AlixPopham - are not involved in Wales' new regional set-up. It is Hansen's last season in charge before returning home to NewZealand, where he is expected to become All Blacks supremo Graham Henry'sassistant coach. European quarter-finalists Llanelli provide seven squad members,as do Cardiff Blues, while there are eight Celtic Warriors representativesand five from Neath-Swansea Ospreys. Hal Luscombe and Michael Owen fly theGwent Dragons' flag. Rhys Williams, Garan Evans and Gareth Thomas would appear to bethe full-back options, with Kevin Morgan currently sidelined through anankle injury. "We are happy with the form of all the players, and the morecompetition we
have the better it is," Hansen said. "The process has been made more difficult than normal due tothe number of players who have been in good form throughout the regions. "But rather than seeing this as a negative, we look at thatas a positive." Wales' squad: Backs Garan Evans (Llanelli Scarlets), Rhys Williams (Cardiff Blues),Shane Williams (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Craig Morgan (Cardiff Blues),Gareth Thomas (Celtic Warriors), Hal Luscombe (Gwent Dragons), Jamie Robinson(Blues), Mark Taylor (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues), Sonny Parker (Warriors),Iestyn Harris (Blues), Ceri Sweeney (Warriors), Stephen Jones (Scarlets),Dwayne Peel (Scarlets), Gareth Cooper (Warriors) Forwards Iestyn Thomas (Scarlets), Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Adam Jones(Ospreys), G Jenkins (Warriors), Robin McBryde (Scarlets), Gareth Williams(Blues), Mefin Davies (Warriors), Robert Sidoli (Warriors), Brent Cockbain(Warriors), Gareth Llewellyn (Ospreys), Michael Owen (Dragons), Colin Charvis (Tarbes,FRA, capt), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), MartynWilliams (Blues), Alix Popham (Leeds)
The Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 squads had a busy Easter period with seven matches played in Ashbourne, Cardiff, Llanelli, Caerphilly and Bordeaux. Check out some of the tries scored. Full match reports are available on www.irishrugby.ie.
Speaking to RTE Radio rugby correspondent Michael Corcoran, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was asked about prioritising players playing in Ireland when it comes to national selection over those who are based overseas.
In an interview broadcast on RTE Radio 1's 'Sunday Sport' programme, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by the summer tour to the USA and Japan, and also looked ahead to next month's Rugby World Cup Pool Draw.
Speaking about working with the provinces and monitoring players' progress, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt told RTE Radio 1: "For us, having the best quality of performance within the provinces, getting some really good coaching from the provincial coaches, which we know is happening at the moment, that's the foundation that we need because in the end we get the players in a match week pretty much."
In an interview with RTE Radio rugby correspondent Michael Corcoran, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt confirmed that Girvan Dempsey, Felix Jones and Ronan O'Gara will be incorporated into the coaching group for the upcoming summer tour to the USA and Japan.
IRFU National Talent Development Manager Hendrik Kruger says the Easter age-grade internationals give the Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 players 'the chance to represent their country and experience international rugby' and are 'the highlight of their season'.
The Ireland Under-18 Clubs & Schools team (sponsored by PwC) played the England U-18 Counties side in the first of two matches at Ashbourne RFC this week. Check out the highlights from Wednesday's entertaining clash.
Four of our stadiums through the eyes of four Irish sporting legends. O'Driscoll on Aviva Stadium, Brogan on Croke Park, Matthews on Kingspan Stadium and O'Connell on Thomond Park. The world is invited #Ireland2023.
Irish Rugby TV caught up with flanker Sean O'Brien to get his reaction following Ireland's hard-earned 13-9 victory over RBS 6 Nations champions England. He singled out man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony for special praise.
Peter O'Mahony reflects on what went wrong for Ireland in Cardiff and tells Irish Rugby TV that he is focusing on the squad and their work this week ahead of the final Six Nations game against England.
The Ireland squad paid a visit to Monaghan last week and held an open training session in Monaghan RFC. We spoke to Andrew Trimble after the session which was attended by over 2,000 cheering supporters.