(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 7s Manager Steff Thomas believes Luke Treharne has all the attriubutes to be a top class captain. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears his reasons why as the squad prepare for the opening two legs of the new World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.