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'I was about 5ft 6in' - When Dewi Lake knew he had to switch position

(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Dewi Lake says he knew it would be “a tough nut to crack” after switching from the back row to hooker just four years ago.


But Lake, one of Welsh rugby’s brightest young prospects, will continue his promising development when he makes a first Wales start on Saturday.

After winning four caps off the bench, 22-year-old Lake has a chance to complete this season’s Six Nations against Italy by leaving another impression on Wales boss Wayne Pivac and his coaching staff.

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With the World Cup in France just 18 months away, Ospreys forward Lake is an emerging force, adding considerable competition for Wales’ number two shirt alongside the likes of Ryan Elias, Bradley Roberts, Elliot Dee and Ken Owens, who is currently injured.

When former Wales Under-20 captain Lake arrived at the Ospreys academy as a teenager, back-row was his area of expertise.

“I had always spoken to my father about if there was any opportunity in rugby we would pursue that avenue to do it,” Bridgend-born Lake said.

England George
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“From a young age, we always thought hooker eventually would be an outcome with the crop of back-rowers Ospreys had at the time, and Wales have always been strong there.

“I knew that would be a tough nut to crack. I had not grown at the time, and was probably standing about 5ft 6in.

“It has been hard work around set-piece, and there are still struggles there. We are working on that daily, and the improvements are coming slowly.

“It is not an overnight job, and that work I am doing with the coaches is coming. It is nice it has fallen into place.


“I like the physical part of the game, so carries, tackles, getting over the ball, that is what I enjoy and feel that I bring.”


Lake saw his progress stalled last year by an ankle injury that meant several months on the sidelines.

But he recovered in time to gain selection for Wales’ Six Nations squad, making his debut in the tournament opener against Ireland, before adding three more appearances as a replacement.

“What has helped me most is possibly that transition of being pulled into the (Wales) squad in 2020 for the first time, so things were not as new this time around,” he added.

“It has helped me to gel with the squad quicker and get on my feet. It looks seamless, but there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and I have enjoyed my rugby and getting out on the park.

“It was a big step up (in 2020) coming out of the under-20s, where you are a big fish in a small pond, I guess to stepping into that environment where you are a very small fish.

“But the welcome you get from the group of boys just puts you at ease. I think then coming into camp this time around, it made me feel that you didn’t have to be too nervous.

“In terms of development for me as a player, just being able to work under the coaches here and with players like Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones – training with that calibre of player brings a better player out of you.”


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