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Wales coach Rob Howley found Thomas Young hard to ignore

Wasps flanker Thomas Young made a selection case that was "hard to ignore" for Wales' RBS 6 Nations squad.

The 24-year-old is among seven uncapped players named in a 36-man group by Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley.

And Howley has praised the in-form forward, who has shone on domestic and European stages for Wasps this season.

"It's hard to ignore Thomas," Howley said.

"Once again, he is another player we talked about during the autumn.

"He is playing in a side that is full of confidence, self-belief and scoring tries for fun. Thomas has played a huge part in that.

"He has got pace, he is a ball player, he can create opportunities for others, so it just changes the dynamics of the back-row. Having a creative ability of ball players in the back-row certainly gives us options."

Young has featured at blindside and openside flanker for Wasps, and Howley added: "Probably, he's a seven.

"I have spoken to his father (Wasps rugby director Dai Young), and he feels that he is a seven as well, although he has the ability to play six."

Ospreys' Olly Cracknell, another promising back-row prospect, has also made the squad, while behind the scrum there are call-ups for the likes of Leicester back Owen Williams, Scarlets wing Steff Evans and Newport Gwent Dragons speedster Ashton Hewitt.

Williams had been tipped to make previous Wales squads, given his consistent club form, and he now makes the step up, offering Howley options at fly-half and centre.

"I was impressed with Owen in the Munster game (against Leicester) last month in terms of the resilience he showed in the game and how he kicked," Howley said.

"Both Ashton and Steff we spoke about in the autumn series. They've played well. Having watched Steff in the Champions Cup against quality opposition, it certainly gives you a better indication of where players are at.

"He creates opportunities for himself and players around him.

"Ashton is young, he is talented and needs to be given a chance. There are areas of his game he has improved on in the last four or five months.

"It is a freshness - an important freshness to the squad - and we are really excited about it."

One player who will not be involved, though, is 18-year-old Ospreys wing Keelan Giles, who was on the bench for Wales' clash against Japan earlier this season.

Giles suffered a hamstring injury while in action for his region last weekend, with scan results now being awaited.


From Belfast Telegraph