(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."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.