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Wales' Aaron Jarvis relaxed about possible hooker role at World Cup

Published 16/09/2015

Prop Aaron Jarvis will provide emergency hooking cover for Wales at the World Cup
Prop Aaron Jarvis will provide emergency hooking cover for Wales at the World Cup

Wales prop Aaron Jarvis is comfortable with the situation if he needs to be called upon as a World Cup emergency hooker.

The 29-year-old tighthead has been identified as a player to possibly provide hooking cover during the tournament, which kicks off later this week.

Head coach Warren Gatland named only two hookers - Scott Baldwin and Ken Owens - rather than a more conventional three in his 31-man World Cup squad. Australia boss Michael Cheika did likewise with his selection.

It then raised concerns in some quarters that Wales, who are grouped with fellow World Cup heavyweights England and Australia, might lack suitable reserves if injuries strike.

Wales could conceivably add a third hooker to their resources during the competition - Richard Hibbard and Kristian Dacey would be options - but only if another squad member, regardless of position, suffers a tournament-ending injury.

If Baldwin or Owens are injured once the World Cup has started, then any replacement would have to be in Wales' camp for at least 48 hours before playing. The injured player, meanwhile, could not play any later World Cup role, once replaced.

Jarvis, though, is relaxed about the whole business.

"I've been doing bits and bobs, practising my throwing," he said.

"Scrummaging-wise, it's not too different to prop, really. It's something I am comfortable with, and I'm happy if it's to come down to it in an emergency situation.

"I've got a lot of help from both hookers (Baldwin and Owens). They've been great in showing me different ways of holding the ball. Personally, I think I've improved quite a lot, and I am really enjoying it. It's something different and learning something new."

Throwing in accurately to the lineout is among a hooker's most important jobs, and Jarvis added: "Once you learn how to hold the ball properly and pushing your hands through, it's actually all right.

"But I've got a lot more respect for the hookers now, though.

"Scrummaging isn't too different, and I am happy to do it. The coaches know what they are doing here, so it's not a problem.

"It's hypothetical. I am emergency cover. I am just covering bases at the moment making sure I'm more comfortable, and I'm surprised how quickly I have got comfortable.

"It's enjoyable to learn something new and improve at something. It's good."

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