Dan Biggar has been tipped to challenge Rhys Priestland for the Wales fly-half jersey
Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar has been backed to launch a major challenge for the Wales number 10 jersey this season.
Biggar missed out for selection for the tour of Australia despite enjoying an impressive end to the season as he helped his region to the RaboDirect PRO12 title.
He was bitterly disappointed not to jet Down Under but Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees says he has responded in perfect fashion - with hard graft.
"Dan is going to challenge for that shirt with Wales this year," Rees told the South Wales Evening Post.
"He has all the attributes. If we can demonstrate consistency as a team, he has a fighting chance of getting into the national team."
"Since I came back from my coaching in Italy last term, he has been unbelievably consistent with the work he puts in, day in, day out.
"He has maintained that regime this summer and put his disappointment with Wales behind him.
"He has his own training routines and is the complete professional. I have known him since he was 15 and I have seen that determination and diligence from a young age. He gets setbacks, he gets kicked quite a bit, but for us he is a true talisman.
"People don't appreciate what he brings. If we are looking at our set-piece, for instance, and our phase-play integration, he's assessing the footage and coming up with ideas.
"He has his own thoughts about the need to become more effective off scrum and line-outs. He's at the hub of that and is a big influence on those around him. He is also prepared to challenge us as coaches, which is great."
Biggar became the first Ospreys player to reach the 1,000 point mark and also broke the region's record for points over a season.
He was rewarded by Wales with a start at fly-half against the Barbarians in June. But he was cut from the squad for the three-Test series with the Wallabies.
"We knew what Wales's thought processes were," added Rees.
"They wanted continuity from the Six Nations and were keen to go with players who had done well for them during that period.
"I was just glad to see Dan back in the mix and being discussed heavily by the Wales coaching group. That's credit to him for the work he put in.
"The great thing is he's driving on Matthew Morgan and Sam Davies as well. It's an area where we are blessed. Those guys in particular get to see what he's about and it does rub off."
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
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.