Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Coombs ready to take his chance

Andrew Coombs is looking to take advantage of his chance with Wales

Andrew Coombs intends being around the Wales squad "for a good few years" after being plucked from relative obscurity and handed his Test match debut in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

The Newport Gwent Dragons lock will line up against Ireland on Saturday less than three years after he started playing professional regional rugby.

"Now I am here, I want to stay for a good few years," Coombs said. "It is down to me to put in a performance and take that opportunity. The last thing I wanted to do was come in and just be part of the furniture and not get a cap."

In his previous working life, Coombs was a computer software salesman, combining that job with Premiership club rugby at once-Gwent strongholds Pontypool and Newport and there is a neat symmetry with Coombs' path to the top and that of former Wales and Dragons hooker Lloyd Burns.

Burns, now retired because of injury, went from being a bricklayer on building sites throughout Wales and the West Country to become a Wales World Cup player in 2011.

Coombs added: "I've come here with the mindset that if I don't do it and train hard then it's not going to happen for me. It is about turning up with the right attitude and trying to be as professional as you can be.

"Me and Lloyd are really close friends, although we've also been enemies on the field on a few occasions when he was playing for Cross Keys and I was playing for Newport.

"We've exchanged a few tweets privately, and I will probably speak to him before Saturday, ask him his advice and just see how he dealt with the occasion.

"I was captain of Newport at the same time Lloyd was captain of Cross Keys, and we both joined the Dragons around the same time. We probably shared the journey together in some ways."