(Main) Michael Owen scored his first try in a Rugby World Cup warm up match in August, but it would be his last contribution to Wales for six months after injuring his back (Thumb) Owen trudges off in Dublin after returning as a replacement
Don't expect Wales forward Michael Owen to walk under any ladders this week after being named to start his first international in six months. In fact the big Dragons lock is likely to run a mile at the sight of a black cat such has been his cursed luck over the past year. Owen has been jinxed ever since becoming the 1,000th Welsh international when he made his debut against South Africa two years ago. Damaged knee ligaments ruled him out of last summer's tour Down Under before back trouble wrecked his Rugby World Cup dream just days before the squad returned to Australia. Both set backs came after being named in the original squad so he could be forgiven for wrapping himself in cotton wool until Sunday's RBS Six Nations clash in Cardiff.
"I'll be looking out everywhere for any blacks cats and I definitely won't be walking under any ladders," quipped Owen. "All I am thinking about now is getting out there on Sunday so fingers crossed all goes well.
"It's fantastic to start after missing the tour and the Rugby World Cup. My main aim this season was to get back playing regularly and then hopefully force my way back in and play some part in the RBS Six Nations.
"Missing the Rugby World Cup was a massive disappointment. It was something I had been looking to for about five years and I had worked really hard to get into the squad only to have it taken away at the last minute. The week after that was extremely hard but as soon as I started my rehab after the operation I had something to focus on.
"I was obviously envious of the rest of the boys at the Rugby World Cup but it was great to see them do well and I could almost enjoy the tournament as a fan which is something you don't often get a chance to do these days.
"It will back to the serious stuff on Sunday. France are quality and we will really have to play weel if we are going to get any sort of result."
Wales reached their first semi-final since 2013 in the opening round of this season's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie recaps on what proved to be an eventful tournament
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series