NEWPORT Gwent Dragons’ exciting young talent Hallam Amos has one eye on making Wales’ 2014 Six Nations squad but his first priority is helping his side record back-to-back away league victories.
The 19-year-old, who is equally at home at full-back or on the wing, returns to the starting XV for tonight’s Connacht clash (kick-off 5pm) after his absence from the away defeat to Bordeaux-Bègles in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Amos, who made an accomplished Wales debut on the left wing in the 17-7 victory over Tonga at the Millennium Stadium in November, was unable to travel with the squad last week.
Catching up with his studies at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine was a priority and so it meant him missing the adventure in France’s wine capital which effectively ended the Dragons’ European dreams after they were crushed 32-13.
Amos had impressed in the home tie against Bordeaux-Bègles earlier this month, crossing for a well-taken try in his side’s vintage 40-24 bonus point win over the Top 14 side following an excellent attacking display.
“It was disappointing not to go to the South of France – it would have been great to have gone on that trip,” Amos said.
“But the dean of medicine told me I had to keep on track and I have missed a lot of work.
“My studies are going well and I don’t feel like I’m struggling but I have a lot of studying to do and I’ve got exams coming up in January.”
So while many of us may be looking forward to the odd sherry or two this Christmas, the dedicated Amos will be hitting the books in between trying to help the Dragons achieve their first back-to-back win in the RaboDirect PRO12 for nearly two years tonight in Galway after they stunned Glasgow last month.
And that’s before he aims to get at least one over big rivals Cardiff Blues in the first of back-to-back derbies at Rodney Parade on Boxing Day.
“We were gutted to lose to Bordeaux-Bègles last week after playing so well and scoring 40 points against them at home,” Amos said.
“It’s another away trip for us this weekend and Connacht is always a tough place to play and they have a good general at No 10 in Dan Parks, but we will try and play our own game.”
On his chances of making reigning champions Wales’ forthcoming Six Nations set-up with the tournament opener against Italy just over a month away, a modest Amos replied: “I was lucky to get into the autumn internationals squad because of injuries to Alex Cuthbert and Eli Walker, but they are both coming back now.
“If I play well for the Dragons, who knows? That’s my first priority.”
Connacht: Robbie Henshaw, Gavin Duffy, Eoin Griffin, Dave McSharry, Matt Healy, Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion, Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris-Wright, Nathan White, Mick Kearney, Craig Clarke (captain), John Muldoon, Jake Heenan, Eoin McKeon Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Denis Buckley, Rodney Ah You, Andrew Browne, George Naoupu, Paul O'Donohoe, Jack Carty, Fionn Carr.
Newport Gwent Dragons: Dan Evans, Will Harries, Pat Leach, Ross Wardle, Hallam Amos, Jason Tovey, Richie Rees, Owen Evans, Sam Parry, Francisco Chaparro, Cory Hill, Andrew Coombs (capt), Lewis Evans, Nic Cudd, Toby Faletau. Replacements: Ashley Smith, Steffan Jones, Wayne Evans, T Rhys Thomas, Hugh Gustafson, Dan Way, Matthew Screech Ieuan Jones.
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)