CHRIS KIRWAN: Ian Evans' Bristol choice is bizarre in a World Cup year
Updated 2:13pm Thursday 26th June 2014 in Sport
IT remains to be seen whether Wales boss Warren Gatland will make his way to Moseley's Billesley Common in October to keep an eye on his Bristol contingent.
If he does then perhaps former Newport High School Old Boys hooker Will Evans can force his way into the squad for the autumn internationals by impressing for the hosts, it could be finally be the time for Caldicot's Mike Powell to make the step up to the Test scene at the age of 35 or maybe prop Ben Evans can end a 10-year wait for cap number 28.
With respect to that Moseley trio, it highlights the farcical situation of three players – back row Ryan Jones, lock Ian Evans and fly-half/full-back Matthew Morgan – that are in the mix for World Cup selection playing in the second tier of English rugby.
Jones and Morgan took a punt on the West Country outfit being back in the Aviva Premiership next season, and the latter was not in the mix for international honours when he penned a deal.
But the Evans move is a puzzling one.
After Toulon pulled the plug on a deal, claiming he was no longer going to retire from international rugby as they believed was the case, the Lions lock opted for Bristol.
He will be locking horns with Plymouth, Jersey, Rotherham and the rest before a pair of playoff encounters with Worcester in June for the right to play in the Premiership.
I have plenty of admiration for the Championship – it is a tough and entertaining league which really tests out whether a player will be able to cut it at a higher level – but it is not a place for a player to put themselves in the shop window in World Cup year.
You can't blame Evans' agent for getting him the best financial deal and you can't blame Bristol coach Sean Holley for tempting another Welsh player over the border.
But it is a decision that makes you ponder the Lions lock's ambition.
The 29-year-old was superb against Eastern Province Kings on Wales' tour to South Africa and could count himself unlucky to be de dropped from the matchday squad for the second Test after impressing off the bench against the Springboks in Durban.
But things will surely change in the autumn and it would be a slap in the face for Newport Gwent Dragons forward Andrew Coombs if he is left out in favour of a player who is fresh from British and Irish Cup action.
It's one thing for Gatland see his players heading over for bumper deals with Racing Metro, Toulon, Clermont Auvergne, Bath and Northampton but another to have them going through the motions for a Championship heavyweight who just needs to peak for a month at the end of the season.
SAMSON Lee has been given a five-week ban for headbutting South Africa lock Flip van der Werwe.
He will miss a grand total of zero Wales games but has been ruled out of the first three weeks of the Scarlets' Pro12 campaign.
It's a relief that the 21-year-old will get a chance to start against Australia on Saturday, November 8 after impressing against the Springboks but it is greatly unfair that his club are the ones to suffer for something he did on international duty.
Lee admitted to foul play at the hearing, accepted that he was "reckless" and said he was sorry.
Perhaps he would have more regrets (and maybe the defence for what seemed a pretty harsh call would have been more aggressive) if it meant sitting out a Test and opening the door for Adam Jones to reclaim his spot rather than missing some club games.