Your rugby morning headlines for Monday, June 14.
Booze not on the cards for Lions
Lions hooker Ken Owens says he’d be surprised if any of the squad reached for a beer on their first afternoon off this Saturday.
Two-thirds of Warren Gatland’s squad assembled in Jersey yesterday for their two-week camp ahead of a warm-up match against Japan.
While the Lions will, of course, be working hard, there have always been stories in years gone by of a bit of team bonding and a few beers, particularly early on in proceedings.
However, having been through his first full day of training in the Channel Islands today, Owens isn’t sure many players will be heading for the bar in their free time.
“I think there’ll be a lot of training done this week to make sure that we’re able to hit the ground running come Japan,” said the hooker.
“If the rest of the week continues like our afternoon session, come Saturday when we have our afternoon off I’m sure the last thing on the boys’ mind will be a couple of beers.”
Read the full Ken Owens interview on life in Jersey and the Lions’ committees here.
Adams keen to link up with Hogg
Wales star Josh Adams has revealed the player he is most looking forward to linking up with from another country is Stuart Hogg.
The pair will head to South Africa with the Lions this year. It’s the first time Adams has represented the tourists, while Hogg will be going on his third trip.
Speaking after two-thirds of Warren Gatland’s squad met up for a two-week camp in Jersey, Adams expressed how keen he is to team up with Hogg.
“That’s a good question. I don’t know. Probably someone like Stuart Hogg from Scotland,” said Adams.
“He’s got a bit of x-factor about him hasn’t he? He always makes the odd break from full-back. He’s an exciting player.
“He’s someone you could pick up a couple of tries from by just floating around him and getting on his shoulder.”
Welshman up for prestigious award
Dazzling young Welshman Ioan Lloyd has been shortlisted for a prestigious individual award in the Gallagher Premiership.
The Land Rover Discovery of the Year is a very corporate title for a breakthrough player of the year of award, which is designed to identify the most exciting young rugby player that has emerged this season.
Whilst he’s played most of his rugby off the bench for Bristol, he’s managed a try, two assists, 39 defenders beaten and eight clean breaks this term.
His form earned him a Wales call-up in the autumn and he was handed his debut by Wayne Pivac against Georgia.
An impressive list of past winners of the award includes Sam Simmonds, Maro Itoje, Henry Slade, Billy Vunipola, Joe Launchbury, Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and Danny Cipriani.
Lloyd is shortlisted with Alfie Barbeary (Wasps), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish), Will Evans (Harlequins), Bevan Ross (Sale) and Freddie Steward (Leicester).
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World Rugby star poised for international return after four years
Ireland’s Simon Zebo could soon be back in the Test arena four years after his last test, which came against Japan in 2017.
Zebo has been ineligible for his country since his move to Racing 92. But he is returning to Munster next season and will then become available to Andy Farrell.
He is not involved in Ireland’s summer Tests because he is still involved in the Top 14 post-season with the Parisians.
But Farrell hinted that a return for Ireland may not be far off.
“Well, if he keeps on playing like he did against Stade Francais the other week when he came on to that line and passed the ball out of the back of his hands – that’s the Zebo of old,” Farrell said.
“He’s not been getting much opportunity, a little bit more recently off the bench. He got some game time at the weekend. I’ve been watching all of his games. He’s doing pretty well, he’s in a big semi-final at the weekend. Do they get through to the final? Would he miss some time with us, etc?
“There are other guys who deserve a chance to be in our squad that’s been playing in and around Ireland over the last season that deserve a look.
“Zeebs will come back to Munster in pre-season, we’ll see how hungry he is to start the season well. How good a pre-season he has, how much he settles in as soon as possible.
“He’ll be a great option, because his passing game, his left-footed kicking game is exactly where it was.”