(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."
WRU International Skills Coach Jason Strange is a busy man, combining the new role with that of Wales Under 20 attack coach, Ebbw Vale head coach and continuing to teach at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
WRU TV go behind the scenes with the Wales squad as they put the final touches in place ahead of the clash against Scotland at Murrayfield. Follow the squad on their captain's run, the kickers visit to Murrayfield and Neil Jenkins' press conference