Ken Owens ready for scavenging Scots at lineout
HOOKER Ken Owens says Wales must ensure their lineout functions against Scotland, whose locks are masters at scavenging possession in the area.
A major facet of the Scots’ stunning win over Ireland at Murrayfield was their canny ability to disrupt the visitors’ supply on their own throw-ins.
Time and again during that heroic 12-8 triumph, second rows Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton leapt like Loch Lomond salmon to give poor Ulster No 2 Rory Best and his jumpers a nightmarish afternoon.
Scarlets hooker Owens, an effective deputy at hooker for Richard Hibbard in Wales’ back-to-back away successes over France and Italy, is determined that they won’t make the same mistake this Saturday.
“Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton have been very good, especially last weekend disrupting Ireland’s ball,” Owens said.
“Hopefully, if we’re accurate with our calling, throwing and lifting, we’ll have plenty of good ball for the backs. It’s a challenge. We’ll respect them but we’ll be confident of winning.”
The man his teammates have christened ‘Cannonball Ken’ because of his direct running style, has often had to be content to play second fiddle to Matthew Rees, for both region and country, and now Hibbard during this Six Nations.
But the 26-year-old is a highly competent operator and takes his role as an understudy with good grace.
“It’s not that frustrating, I’ve actually been quite happy coming off the bench,” he admitted.
“That’s the role I’ve been given and I’ve relished making an impact in the last 30 minutes or so. I know I’m going to get game-time and a chance to up the tempo of the game.
“Richard’s been in outstanding form throughout the season and thoroughly deserves his first-team spot. It’s up to me now to keep working hard and put good performances in.
“That’s good for the team, strength in depth. Matthew Rees is also playing well, so we’ve got three very good hookers in the squad. It’s been good getting out there with the boys and playing some good stuff. We’ve built a bit of momentum with two wins.”