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What 'superstar' Regan Grace needs to learn in rugby union

By PA
Regan Grace of Bath Rugby looks on in a huddle during a Bath Rugby training session at Farleigh House on May 28, 2024 in Bath, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Wales newcomer Regan Grace has been described as “an unbelievable player” after securing a place in Warren Gatland’s Australia tour squad.

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Despite playing only two senior games of rugby union for his club Bath, former league star Grace could pull on the red shirt Down Under.

Whether that is during two Tests against the Wallabies or a July 19 appointment with Queensland Reds, a first Wales appearance looks likely sooner rather than later for the 27-year-old wing.

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Grace, who scored 89 tries for St Helens during a league career that saw him feature in three Grand Final-winning teams, is under contract with Bath until the end of next season.

He switched codes in 2022 but ruptured his Achilles tendon ahead of joining French Top 14 club Racing 92 and he did not play for them at all after suffering an injury relapse six months later.

Fixture
Internationals
Australia
25 - 16
Full-time
Wales
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Grace then linked up with Bath to continue his rehabilitation and he played in friendlies earlier this year against Leinster and Gloucester as he returned to full fitness.

“If you have watched Regan in league you can understand why he has been called up,” Wales wing Rio Dyer said.

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“He is an unbelievable player who has so much talent.

“He hasn’t played much, but he has brought a huge amount of effort and hard work into training and you can see he is not someone who is new to the game.

“He knows the ins and outs. Let’s just see how he goes. I am sure he will do very well.”

Grace was called into Wales’ training squad less than a week before departure to Sydney, where Australia will be the opponents on Saturday.

He joined the group after Ospreys wing Keelan Giles suffered a groin injury and was ruled out of the three-match trip.

Wales assistant coach and defence specialist Mike Forshaw had a 17-year league career, playing for Wigan, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford and Warrington.

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He also represented Great Britain on 14 occasions, so has a detailed understanding of both codes and what Grace can expect.

“I have seen highlights of Regan,” Forshaw said.

“He was a superstar at St Helens and a very good athlete. He is a great lad who has been unfortunate with injuries.

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“He is someone who can really come through for Wales. We are going to monitor him and we are not going to push him through too soon.

“It was an ideal opportunity to have a look at him because there aren’t that many players with an X-factor and pace.

“We are down a lot of players at the moment and it is a great opportunity to have a look at him. At some point he will get a crack.

“He will need to understand how to play in the back field, where the game goes at set-pieces and then at the breakdown.

“That is always a challenge for players coming from rugby league. In league the game stops when the tackle is made, but the game starts when a tackle is made in union.”

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