Given the injury crisis that Wales are currently enduring with their centres ahead of the Six Nations, Cardiff Blues’ Josh Adams and the Ospreys’ George North are both set to start this weekend at outside centre for their clubs in Europe.
Wayne Pivac currently has a dearth of options in the No13 Test team shirt, with first-choice Jonathan Davies ruled out as is Willis Halaholo. Owen Watkin is set to miss the start of the tournament and Scott Williams is currently carrying a hamstring injury.
Given the abundance of wingers that the new coach has, the matches this weekend could be a trial for Adams and North to see who may start there in the opening match of the Six Nations against Italy at the Principality Stadium.
With the Ospreys’ hopes of making it out of their pool in the Champions Cup already extinguished, this is the ideal scenario to test North out in the 13 channel again before the Six Nations without the fear of sacrificing points in the league or a place in the quarter-finals.
However, the two-time British and Irish Lion has played in that position before, although not much, and his defensive capabilities have been called into question there, particularly as it is possibly the trickiest position defensively on the field, certainly for someone who is not accustomed to it.
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Equally, North could be deployed as a useful ball-carrier in the middle of the field, as could Cardiff’s winger Owen Lane as well.
Meanwhile, there is more on the line for Cardiff this Sunday when they travel to Pool Five leaders Leicester Tigers, as there is still a chance they can proceed to the knockout stages of the competition.
However, before Pivac makes any hasty decisions to shoehorn natural wingers into the midfield, there are still players in Wales that many feel are worthy of a call-up. The Scarlets’ Steff Hughes and the Dragons’ Tyler Morgan are two names being tipped to fill this hole in the team.
And there's players like Steff Hughes who would get over looked for the sake of playing two wings in the centre, North was awful last time he played centre! And Adams is on fire as a winger at the minute ridiculous
— Richie1664 (@Richie16641) January 10, 2020
Steff Hughes has been brilliant for us. Not sure he offers enough with the ball for international rugby but proper defender. Shut down Thomas and Lee Lo last Friday. Only time they got round that 13 channel Adams finished a worldy
— Ricky Harries (@RickyHarries) January 10, 2020
The 24-year-old Morgan is seeking to rebuild his international career and add to his five caps, having played in the 2015 World Cup. He played his last Test for Wales in November 2018, so this is a prime opportunity to impress Pivac.
You've got Tyler Morgan at the Dragons or Steff Hughes at the Scarlet's. There's no need to move any winger's infield.
— Thomas Hurley (@merthyrscarlet) January 4, 2020
It has to be Steff Hughes !!!! This young man knows his job he is a future Welsh captain for sure he offers something different in midd field and is a great guy on and off the field of play !!!
— Bedwyr Morgan (@BedwyrMorgan) January 4, 2020
The uncapped Hughes will also be able to provide a lot more defensive certainty in the 13 channel, having impressed in Davies’ absence this season for the Scarlets.
I see both he and North are playing 13 this weekend. Wonder what the likes of Tyler Morgan are thinking?
— John Pearce ??????? (@JPearce_JP) January 10, 2020
I would stick with Parkes and bring in Tyler Morgan for this 6N although I'm not against seeing what Lane or Adams could do. We shouldn't pin our hopes on them, though. Love Steff Hughes but not sure he's quite test level.
Ben Thomas, Tian T-W, Corey Baldwin all possibles?
— Rhiannon Garth Jones (@rhigarthjones) January 9, 2020
The reality is, though, that Pivac will need to assess all possibilities before the Six Nations given the injury crisis – and there is still a very real possibility that North or Adams may need to fill in at some point.
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