Media Watch: Watkin’s return, Davies’ form and van der Merwe’s failed medical

Charlie Bennett
15 January 2020

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Just two months on from the World Cup, international rugby is back in the spotlight as Guinness Six Nations squads begin to trickle out.

Scotland, Wales and Italy have already announced theirs while Ireland are due to release Andy Farrell’s first squad as head coach on Wednesday.

And the Six Nations is where our Media Watch begins, with the focus in Wales on just who is going to line up at centre.

With injuries aplenty, new head coach Wayne Pivac is hardly spoilt for choice – but he will have been delighted to see Ospreys man Owen Watkin move a step closer to recovery.

It had appeared a knee injury sustained in mid-December would keep him out of the entire championship but Watkin was given the green light to return to training this week and Pivac subsequently called him up.

Staying in Wales and fly-half Sam Davies admits he is thriving at the Dragons following a summer move from the Ospreys.

Davies will make his 14th start from 16 games against Enisei in the Challenge Cup and hopes his form can bring him back into Wales contention.

Across the Irish Sea in Ireland, Connacht head coach Andy Friend believes some of Leinster’s fringe players should leave the province for more game time.

The defending Guinness PRO14 champions have been outstanding this season and boast incredible depth but Friend believes some would be better served if they moved to Munster, Ulster or indeed the Sportsground.

However, as the Irish Times reports, the abundance of riches at their disposal helps Leinster, who are breaking records every week.

And former Argentina and Leinster No.10 Felipe Contepomi believes it’s the fly-half quartet of Johnny Sexton, Ross Byrne, Ciaran Frawley and Harry Byrne that hold the key.

Moving to Scotland and Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill revealed wing Duhan van der Merwe failed his medical before signing for the club in 2017.

Van der Merwe has scored 28 tries in 53 games since landing in the capital and signed a new contract this week.

But a hip problem almost ended his Edinburgh career before it even began.

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