(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."
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.