Six Nations – Wales v Ireland: Wales player profiles

Patrick Madden looks at Warren Gatland’s 15 who are looking to complete a Grand Slam

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones faces the media during Wales training ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match against Ireland in Cardiff, Wales. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones faces the media during Wales training ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match against Ireland in Cardiff, Wales. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

 

15 Liam Williams
Club:
Saracens
Age: 27
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 86.82kg (13st 7lbs)
Caps: 55

A candidate for player of the tournamen so far, exceptional under the high ball and deadly on the counter, as well as a superb sweeper in the deep.

14 George North
Club:
Ospreys
Age: 26
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 109.09kg (17st 2lbs)
Caps: 83

Great to see gorgeous George back fit and firing after a string of head injuries, and if he stays fit he will reach 100 caps well before his 30th birthday – impressive.

13 Jonathan Davies
Club:
Scarlets
Age: 30
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 100.91kg (15st 10lbs)
Caps: 72

The glue which holds the Welsh backline together, Davies is a powerful presence on the outside shoulder and defensive organiser. His duel with Ringrose will help decide the match.

12 Hadleigh Parkes
Club:
Scarlets
Age: 31
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 100.91kg (15st 10lbs)
Caps: 15

A naturalised Kiwi like his opposite number, he is another hard-running, physical inside-centre who relishes his defensive duties and possesses a slick offload.

11 Josh Adams
Club:
Worcester Warriors
Age: 23
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 94.09kg (14st 9lbs)
Caps: 10

Adams is now a fixture in a deadly Welsh back three, and is a devastating finisher. His score against England perfectly showcased his mixture of athleticism, power and footballing ability.

10 Gareth Anscombe
Club:
Cardiff Blues
Age: 27
Height: 6’
Weight: 86.82kg (13st 7lbs)
Caps: 26

There is a case to be made that Anscombe is the weak link in comparison to the ultra-consistent Dan Biggar. But the Cardiff man has become first-choice outhalf during Wales’ 13-match winning run, so must be doing something right.

9 Gareth Davies
Club:
Scarlets
Age: 28
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 88.18kg (13st 10lbs)
Caps: 41

Not making an exception for Rhys Webb remains a brainless move from the WRU but Gareth Davies is the best of the rest. A sharp passer and always lively around the fringes.

1 Rob Evans
Club:
Scarlets
Age: 26
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 118.18kg (18st 7lbs)
Caps: 35

A dynamic prop, Evans made his debut against Ireland in 2015. Not afraid to take the ball in hand, one-third of what has become a very slick Welsh frontrow.

2 Ken Owens
Club:
Scarlets
Age: 32
Height: 6’
Weight: 110kg (17st 4lbs)
Caps: 63

The all-round package at hooker, Owens is equally adept on or off the ball. His throwing at the lineout is clean, his tackling ferocious and he has the deftest of hands.

3 Tomas Francis
Club:
Exeter Chiefs
Age: 26
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 135kg (21st 3lbs)
Caps: 40

Outstanding against Scotland, and a key part of a huge defensive effort in the second half. The strong Welsh scrum has been aided by a settle frontrow.

4 Adam Beard
Club:
Ospreys
Age: 23
Height: 6’8”
Weight: 116.82kg (18st 4lbs)
Caps: 12

Beard is yet to taste defeat in international rugby after a freakish run only opposite number James Ryan could relate to. A looming presence, he is excellent at spoiling ball in the maul.

5 Alun Wyn Jones
Club:
Ospreys
Age: 33
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 118.18kg (18st 7lbs)
Caps: 124

What is there to say about Alun Wyn Jones that hasn’t been said? Wales’ beating, roaring heart, Ireland must stop him if they want to stop a Welsh Grand Slam today.

6 Josh Navidi
Club:
Cardiff Blues
Age: 28
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 105kg (16st 6lbs)
Caps: 15

Navidi had to bide his time for his proper international breakthrough but it has been worth the wait – he’s a brilliantly athletic presence and leads Welsh tackle charts with 62.

7 Justin Tipuric
Club:
Ospreys
Age: 29
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 101.82kg (16st 0lbs)
Caps: 63

The elder statesman in a Welsh backrow after a string of injuries, Sam Warburton’s retirement was slightly less painful for Wales given Tipuric could slip straight into the seven jersey.

8 Ross Moriarty
Club:
Dragons
Age: 24
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 103.18kg (16st 3lbs)
Caps: 31

Moriarty seems to actively seek confrontation, preferring to run through somebody than round them. But, he has neat hands and a good rugby brain to complement his thirst for physicality.

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