Gareth Edwards believes the time is right for Wales to unleash teenage wing Keelan Giles on Scotland in the Six Nations but said criticism of Alex Cuthbert is “unfair”.
Giles has been billed as the ‘new Shane Williams’ after bursting onto the scene with some eye-catching displays for Ospreys this season.
The rapid 19-year-old missed out on a place in Rob Howley’s squad for the start of the Six Nations after suffering a hamstring injury, but will make his Pro12 comeback against Munster in a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.
Wales and British and Irish Lions legend Edwards wants Howley to hand the promising flyer his international debut at Murrayfield a week on Saturday.
Speaking on behalf of Land Rover, a Principal Partner of the British & Irish Lions, Edwards told Omnisport: “He’s [Giles] a very, very good talent.
“I think maybe the Scotland game will be a good one to make his debut. There was a lot riding on the England game, not that I’m saying that the boy isn’t capable, but I think it might well be an easier baptism for him to get into the Scottish game.
“That’s not taking anything away from Scotland, I just think the intensity of facing England, and with Wales very much capable of winning the Grand Slam before that game, it was important that they kept all the experience they had.
“If they do change it and give him the opportunity, I’m sure the boy is quite capable of taking his chance. He’s an extremely good wing.”
Cuthbert came into the side with George North [dead leg] ruled out last Saturday and came under fire after he Elliot Daly outpaced him to score a decisive late try, which Owen Farrell converted expertly to seal a dramatic victory for England.
But Edwards said: “It seems unfair to single anybody out like that, he’s been struggling a little bit with his form having been outstanding a couple of years ago.
“Nobody goes out on the field not to do his very best. I’m sympathetic, also because I’m a Cardiff Blues director, but you can point the finger to five or 10 minutes before that [Daly try] when we lost a lineout that created the opportunity for England. I don’t think it’s right to single anyone out on just that moment.”
– Land Rover is on the hunt for grassroots Lions to join them on the British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand 2017. For your chance to win a place on tour, go to @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now