Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Evans not envious of Howley dilemma

Ian Evans is hoing to start Wales' clash with Scotland next week

Wales lock Ian Evans has admitted he does not envy Rob Howley's second-row selection task for the RBS 6 Nations clash against Scotland next week.

Interim head coach Howley must pick two from three - Evans, Andrew Coombs and fit-again Alun-Wyn Jones - to start at Murrayfield. Evans and Coombs have impressed as a combination in Wales' three Six Nations games so far this season, but vastly-experienced Test Lion Jones, who has won more than 60 caps, shone off the bench against Italy last Saturday.

Jones will now have another run for the Ospreys this weekend, with Howley due to name his starting line-up next Tuesday. "A lot of people put a lot of doubt in Andrew's corner. But the true professional he is, he came out fighting and showed what kind of qualities he has got," Evans said.

"It has added to our strength in depth within the second-row. We probably did lack that at one point, and now we are looking quite healthy again in that area. With Alun-Wyn, I don't think I need to explain that he's a quality player. He brings a lot of experience and professionalism, and his all-round game is good.

"He has got a game this weekend. If he comes through that, then it's going to be a tough call who gets that nod in that all-important game against Scotland. I probably wouldn't want to be the coach, there."

Evans, meanwhile, fully expects his former boss Scott Johnson to play mind games in the build-up towards next week's encounter. Australian Johnson was no stranger to delivering one-liners and colourful comments during his time in charge of Wales and the Ospreys.

And Evans does not anticipate a ceasefire, adding: "He is quite a character, really. He likes to put himself out in the press, trying to ramble some jargon and trying to play mind-games.

"His worst fear is probably that he's coached most of the boys within our squad, so we will more or less know how his mind-set is.

"So he can ramble as much as he wants, it just becomes pretty boring in the end. Rugby is a pretty basic game isn't it? I don't think you need to add fuel to the fire. There is no doubt that there will be (mind games next week). But, like I said, it's boring, for me anyway."

Both Wales and Scotland remain in Six Nations title contention, having won two games from three starts, but unbeaten England remain firm favourites for silverware and a possible Grand Slam.

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