George North Wales

Ospreys in the Six Nations

The Guinness Six Nations kicked off with a bang over the weekend as Wales put Italy to the sword in Cardiff; Ireland repelled the brave Scots in Dublin; and England slumped against a new-look French outfit in Paris. 

Wales U20 let slip the lead against Italy and were unable to claw it back as they lost 7-17 at Stadiwm Zip World, while Ireland U20 defeated their Scottish rivals 38-26. England U20 fared better than their senior side, who snatched victory with a 79th minute try, to end the game 24-29.

Wales Women suffered an opening defeat against Italy, who scored two tries in quick succession to race out in front, and the hosts at Cardiff Arms Park were unable to overcome the deficit, eventually losing 15-19. England Women ran out 13-19 winners against France in Pau, while Ireland Women held on at Donnybrook to claim their first victory of the championship.

So how did our own players get on during Wales' opening games against the Azzurri? 

Men

Alun Wyn Jones

  • The captain played the full 80 minutes and made 16 tackles against Italy, with a success rate of 100%.
  • He also made six tackle assists and one dominant tackle.
  • At Wales' own rucks, Jones made his presence felt 19 times, 17 of which he was among the first three Welsh player to arrive and cleared out the opposition on six occasions.
  • He also hit opposition rucks seven times and won lineout ball on three occasions. 
  • Jones has now overtaken both Gethin Jenkins and JPR Williams' Welsh Championship record, with 35 victories.

 

Justin Tipuric

  • The Ospreys captain was outstanding at the Principality Stadium, also playing the full 80.
  • He made 13 metres in his three carries, crossing the gain line on each occasion.
  • The openside made 20 tackles without missing a single one and managed to turn the ball over once.
  • The most staggering statistic is his attacking ruck arrivals, securing Wales the ball on no fewer than 27 occasions, 8 more than any other player in the squad. He also participated in eight defensive rucks. 
  • Tipuric's performance gained him the player of the match accolade. 

 

George North

  • The Ospreys winger made his fifth international start at outside centre and played in the midfield for the full 80 minutes.
  • The big man powered over the whitewash after 76 minutes, taking his tally up to 40 tries for wales, equalling the record of Gareth Thomas.
  • His 20th Six Nations takes him to 200 points in the championship, just three tries shy of equalling Shane Williams' Six Nations record. 
     
Tipuric Wales
Wayne Pivac, Wales Coach
"The boys want to play a bit more and at times we achieved that but at times we might have overplayed. There is still plenty to work on."

Women - Key stats

Siwan Lilicrap
Captaining Wales Women, Lilicrap lead the way for her team with ball carries, taking the ball to the line 11 times and making 70 metres. She also made 18 successful tackles. The captain played the full 80 minutes to boot. 

Kelsey Jones
One of Wales' three try scorers, Jones crossed the line with a little under fifteen minutes to go to rekindle some Welsh hope. The Ospreys hooker also made her presence felt in defence, leading the charts with three dominant tackles. 

Kerin Lake
The Ospreys centre made 68 metres over 8 carries, averaging eight and a half metres per carry. 

Gwen Crabb and Natalia John, Ospreys second rows, were prominent in the pack for Wales while fullback Kayleigh Powell made a spectacular try saving tackle only moments before being forced from the field having suffered a brutal looking head clash. Keira Bevan earned her 31st cap, starting at scrumhalf once more for her country. 

Kelsey Wales
Gareth Wyatt, Wales Coach
"We showed good attacking intent, the Italians came back at us but I give our girls credit."

U20

There was a host of debuts for Wales U20, Morgan Strong and Josh Thomas both starting for Wales while Travis Huntley and Bradley Rodrick both came off the bench to earn their first caps. Fellow Osprey James Fender was an unused substitute over the weekend but will be vying for a spot in the team over the coming weeks. 

Ospreys product and Pencoed boy Sam Costelow, currently at Leicester Tigers, was impressive at fly half. Fellow former Osprey and Banwen boy Luke Scully, currently at Worcester Warriors, replaced Costelow towards the end of the game, and made his mark on proceedings. 

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Next week, Wales will cross the Irish Sea go head to head with Ireland. 

Ireland U20 v Wales U20
Friday 7th February, KO 19:15
Irish Independent Park, Cork

Ireland v Wales
Saturday 8th February, KO 14:15
AVIVA Stadium, Dublin

Ireland Women v Wales Women
Sunday 9th February, KO 13:00
Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin