In-form Evans tipped for Wales honours
LEWIS Evans has forced his way into the mix for Test honours with his festive form, according to his Newport Gwent Dragons head coach.
The Dragons lost to Cardiff Blues in the capital on Boxing Day and to the Ospreys on New Year’s Eve.
But there were positives among the gloom, perhaps most notably the displays of captain Evans on the blindside.
The 25-year-old led from the front and was a prominent figure at the breakdown and with ball in hand, frequently distributing when operating as a first receiver.
Evans is uncapped but was called up to the Wales squad in the autumn of 2011 after impressing in the Dragons’ European victory against Perpignan.
And head coach Darren Edwards believes he is in contention for another call-up, if not in the Six Nations then certainly on the summer tour to Japan.
“Players put their markers down in derby and games and in Europe and Lewis showed his class over Christmas,” he said.
“He was superb in the collisions against the Blues and then in the contact area against the Ospreys, which is one of their real strengths.
“Lewis was excellent at the breakdown, carried the ball well and showed that not only is he a big man but he has skills as well.
“I think there is no doubt that he has the potential to play international rugby and we believe that he can push himself into the frame.”
In the absence of the injured Dan Lydiate, Evans played on the blindside in both derbies.
And versatility is a virtue of the flanker – he has made five starts at blindside and six at openside this season while he has also previously slotted in at number eight.
The back row is an area of strength for Wales with Lydiate, Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric and Aaron Shingler likely to be in the Six Nations squad. Scarlets pair Rob McCusker and Josh Turnbull also featured in the autumn whitewash.