Young could get chance to push World Cup claims – McBryde


Thomas Young last played for Wales during their summer tour in 2017
Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Saturday, 9 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales flanker Thomas Young could stake a claim for a World Cup squad place if he impresses against Italy, according to forwards coach Robin McBryde.

Wasps’ Young, 26, won his two caps when McBryde was in charge of Wales’ Tests against Samoa and Tonga in 2017.

But he could feature in Rome on Saturday, with Wales expected to make changes from Friday’s Six Nations opening win in France.

“He thoroughly deserves his opportunity,” said McBryde.

“He’s been a consistent player. His selection was based on that two years ago. He is a consistent performer for Wasps every week.

“He’s playing in a league where there are big men week in, week out and the intensity is there.

“He’s had several man-of-the-match awards.

“In defence he makes intelligent decisions of when to compete for the ball and in attack he links up with the backs. He is doing that here as well.”

Young is part of a 31-man Wales squad in Nice for a training camp in between their first two Six Nations matches of the year.

The open-side has earned glowing reviews for his performances for Wasps in the English Premiership in recent years.

But he has found opportunities limited with Wales, whose wealth of back-row options includes Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins, Aaron Shingler and James Davies.

Six Nations: Wales beat France in comeback in opening game

However, injuries to Jenkins, Shingler and Davies opened the door for Young’s inclusion in the initial extended 39-man squad Wales named for the Six Nations.

And with Tipuric, Navidi, Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty the only other specialist back-rowers in the 31-strong party in Nice, Young is in contention for a rare start in Rome.

“We’ve got several to choose from. We’re testing that strength in depth,” said McBryde.

“But we only have five back-rowers in the squad. It will be the same at the World Cup, an 18-13 split, four second-rowers, five back-rowers.

“It’s an opportunity for anyone down here to stake a claim and make a name for themselves. If anyone gets the opportunity, they have to take it.

“[The 2017 Tests against Samoa and Tonga] were a snapshot of a tour, there was a lack of time and preparations. During the Six Nations you have a chance to look at someone properly.

“The fact he [Young] has had the first couple of weeks with us and been able to bed in, he has benefitted from that.”

Wales’ 31-man squad in Nice

Forwards: Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Beard, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Samson Lee, Cory Hill, Aaron Wainwright, Dillon Lewis, Ryan Elias, Nicky Smith, Jake Ball, Thomas Young.

Backs: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams, Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin, Aled Davies, Hallam Amos, Jonah Holmes.

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