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The renaissance of Wales’ new vice-captain Adam Beard

Adam Beard of Wales.

The renaissance of Wales’ new vice-captain Adam Beard

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Rewind the clock back 15 months and Adam Beard was licking his wounds having been left out of Wayne Pivac’s squad for the Autumn Nations Cup.

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Pivac’s feedback was he wanted the Ospreys lock to add more layers to his game, to develop an all-court game which could elevate Beard to the next level. This was quite the comedown for a man who played every single game in Wales’ 2019 Six Nations grand slam winning campaign, and was a mainstay in the side during the final years of the Warren Gatland era.

Lesser players would have sulked, or even thrown the towel in, but that isn’t Beards style. Instead he went back to the Ospreys, and with the help of their inspiring head coach Toby Booth, took Pivac’s advice on board by putting in several standout performances to win his place back in the Wales side.

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“It has been a positive year,” said Beard. “It was a bit of a setback to start with. The first initial feeling was disappointing, I was gutted. If you look before that I was probably a regular in the campaigns with the previous coaches.

“It hit home pretty hard. It was about coming back to the Ospreys and proving a point and making sure those consistent performances were up to scratch.

“I had quality people at the Ospreys, and I can’t thank them enough. It gave me the confidence to work on the areas of my game the Wales coaches told me to.

“It was about getting consistent performances, not sulking or dwelling on the disappointment and working hard to put my hand up and get back to the squad.”

Beard’s performances were so impressive during Wales’ Six Nations title winning campaign of 2021, they earnt him a call-up to last summer’s British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa. Such is his important to Wales’ prospects he has been named as vice-captain, supporting new skipper Dan Biggar in Alun Wyn Jones’ absence.

“I don’t think it is going to change much,” he added. “We have got Bigs (Dan Biggar) who is a quality player, has so much experience, is a great leader and somebody who always puts his heart on the line.

“It is a massive honour and privilege and probably something I did not expect this early. You would never turn down the opportunity to be vice-captain of your country and it is a proud moment for my family and myself.”

“I see myself as one of the pack leaders and I will take care of a lot of the set-piece stuff. It’s about doing my normal business, maybe do a bit more talking around the team stuff.

“I would like to say I am somebody who leads with action rather than many words.” Pivac has highlighted Beard as a potential permanent captain option after the 2023 World Cup when the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Ken Owens and Biggar have moved on.

“I know I have to be playing well for selection firstly and then it’s up to the coaches who they pick in that role (captain),” added Beard. “If I was lucky enough to be selected as captain, it would be a great honour and something I would not turn down.”

Beard has been packing down with regular Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones who misses the 2022 tournament through injury. “I have learned a massive lot from Alun Wyn,” admitted Beard.

“Just being around him, you can see he is ultra-professional and leaves no stone unturned.”

 

 

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