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Watkin ready to grab big chance

Owen Watkin is back at inside centre

Watkin ready to grab big chance

Owen Watkin gets another chance to stake his claim to a long-term fixture in the Welsh midfield when he wins his 38th cap against France in Round 4 of the Guinness Six Nations.

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The 27-year-old started at outside centre in Round 1 against Scotland, but will be filling his more favoured No 12 jersey in his second outing of the 2024 championship.

The Ospreys star has been around for quite a while, making his debut against Australia in 2017, featuring in the 2019 Grand Slam team and then making six appearances in Japan at the World Cup later that same year.

“It was frustrating not to play the last two games. I’m playing No12 this week and that’s where I’ve played all season with the Ospreys,” said Watkin, who partners Joe Roberts in a new centre partnership.

“Nick (Tompkins) and George (North) have played together in the last two games and so Joe and I have been the opposition for them in training. You come to terms with a combination quite quickly.

“Joe’s still pretty young but I’m looking forward to seeing him getting out there and playing. Hopefully we can build a partnership together.

“I’m sure Nick and George are disappointed at not playing, but Joe and I have been disappointed as well when we haven’t played in the last two games. We are just preparing as best we can.”

While Roberts missed out on the World Cup in France due to a nagging knee injury, Watkin wasn’t even in the mix. His form for the Ospreys earned him a recall for the Six Nations and Gatland is giving him his chance to shine again.

What the Wales head coach is seeking as the 120 cap stalwart North nears the end of his remarkable career is someone who can be a vocal leader in the middle of the park. Watkin’s defence is one of the outstanding features of his game, but he is also an attacking threat.

Now he needs to call the tune as Wales seek to end a run of only two wins in their last 14 Six Nations matches.

“I just want to get on the field. I enjoy playing at inside centre and it’s where I’ve played for most of the season at the Ospreys – you get involved more in the game and I’m really excited heading into the weekend,” added Watkin.

“France have got a youngster playing at No 12 (Nicolas Depoortere) and then Gael Fickou outside him has a wealth of experience. We know it’s going to be a massive test for our back line, but I think we’ve got a back line that can cause problems.

“Now I’ve got a chance to prove a point and show I’m really capable of holding onto the 12 or 13 jersey.”

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