Wales audition for Lewis Evans
8:43am Saturday 19th April 2014 in Sport
LEWIS Evans will get a chance to push for a place in the Wales squad to tour South Africa when the Newport Gwent Dragons flanker goes toe-to-toe with Lions ace Justin Tipuric at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Ospreys have confirmed that their star openside has "an ongoing shoulder problem" and the 24-year-old may go under the knife at the end of the season.
That would rule him out of the summer tour that sees Wales play two Tests against the Springboks and a midweek clash against Eastern Province Kings.
Coach Warren Gatland is already without captain Sam Warburton after the flanker dislocated his right shoulder in the final minutes of the Six Nations win against Scotland.
The boss has said that he is prepared to select a heavyweight back row against the physical Boks with lock Bradley Davies at blindside and Dan Lydiate shifting to openside.
But Evans, who has twice been called up to the international squad without getting capped, will be looking to give Gatland a gentle nudge at Judgement Day.
The 26-year-old, who missed last year's double-header because of a calf injury, is selected alongside Taulupe Faletau and Netani Talei and will slug it out with the Ospreys triumvirate of Tipuric, Joe Bearman and Dan Baker.
Evans has had a fine season with 23 appearances across the back row and director of rugby Lyn Jones has previously sung his praises.
"Lewis Evans is looking every bit an international rugby player," said the Dragons boss, himself a former Wales flanker.
"I think that it's a matter of time before he gets called in by Wales and shows what he can do because he has been playing superbly.
"Lewis is accurate, reads the game well, plays at a good height and his timing is superb.
"It's not just his skills – the decisions he is making are correct and if you don't make many mistakes then you can go on to play international rugby."
A fine display at Judgement Day would put him in the mix for the probables v possibles trial game that Gatland wants to hold before heading to South Africa.
Wales play the Springboks in Durban on June 14 and Nelspruit on June 21 after the warm-up against Eastern Province in Port Elizabeth on June 10.
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