Wales call up reinforcements after injuries
NEWS: After a storming start to the 2021 Six Nations season, beating both Ireland and the high-flying Scotland, Wales have unfotunately been inundated with injuries.
Welsh coach Wayne Pivac called up some reinforcements for their Round Three encounter – at home to defending champions England in Cardiff.
The latest call-up went out to promising, but inexperienced, young Sale Sharks prop WillGriff John.
The call came on Sunday as a result of an injury that ruled out first-choice tighthead Dillon Lewis out with a neck injury, with Lewis set to miss Wales’ remaining Championship games – against England, Italy and France.
John has yet to make an appearance for Wales although he was on their radar last season.
He was named in the starting line-up for last year’s Six Nations finale against Scotland, but the match was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is now all systems go for him to earn his first Welsh cap.
The burly 127Kg Welshman – who boasts a personal best bench press of 210kg, which puts him at an impressive sixth on the all-time list – is set to leave Sale at the end of this season and return to Wales.
He’ll be fronting up for Scarlets in 2022.
This move back home to Wales should provide him with a better chance of cementing his place in the national side.
“WillGriff is a player who has built a strong reputation in the Premiership with the Sharks and it is great that we are able to bring him back to Welsh rugby,” said Scarlets coach Glenn Delaney.
“He was due to win his first cap for Wales against Scotland last year only for the match to be postponed because of Covid and he is hungry to get back into the international set-up. He is a player who will add a lot to our squad and we look forward to welcoming him to Parc y Scarlets later this year.”
When asked about his move John said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Scarlets for next season. They are a team that is known for playing an exciting style of rugby based on a strong set-piece and I am looking forward to joining up with the team.
“I have a young family now so it will be nice to be closer to home after being away from Wales for a number of years. After speaking with Glenn I was really excited about joining the team and hopefully playing my part in future success.”
Despite the obvious issues, it must be a massive relief for coach Wayne Pivac to get some of his big name players back, George North being one of them.
“George is making good progress, every day he is improving,” Wales attack coach Stephen Jones said on Thursday.
“He’s taken part in some sort of training already, which is great, and that’s the good thing from our perspective. I believe it is a full green light.”
There is also the return of centres Johnny Williams and Jonathan Davies.
Flank Josh Navidi has also recovered from the neck injury that forced him to miss the Scotland win but the main headache for the New Zealand-born head coach right now has got to be at tighthead.