(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."
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.