(Main & Thumb) Michael Owen as captain of the Lions against Argentina
Michael Owen will return home to Wales on Sunday to share in the birth of his second child with wife Lucy.
Owen, who plays his first game on tour against Taranaki in New Plymouth on Wednesday, has agreed with the Lions management to come home for three days. He will return five days later when he hopes to push his case for a place in the first Test against the All Blacks on June 25th 2008.
"It was something that has been agreed and the management have been very supportive of me," said Owen. "They told me how important it is that I go home to be with my wife and that certainly helped. Hopefully I can play well this week and maybe get a chance to further prove myself ahead of the Test selection."
Owen, who captained the side against Argentina in Cardiff two weeks ago, has been relieved of that role for Wednesday's game in New Plymouth although the coaching staff have assured him that it does not reflect anything he did or did not do in that game at the Millennium Stadium.
Gareth Jenkins, who will coach the side on Wednesday alongside Ian McGeechan said: "It has been decided to switch the captaincy around and that is exactly what has happened this week. Michael did a fantastic job in leading the side in Cardiff and he is very much one of the key members of this side this week."
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.