LEWIS Evans has been given a huge incentive by Robin McBryde who admitted the Newport Gwent Dragons’ captain was “unlucky” not to make Wales’ Six Nations squad.
And the national side’s forwards coach is calling on the in-form back rower to keep reproducing his excellent recent displays.
With greater consistency, there is no reason why the 25-year-old can’t go on and represent his country, in McBryde’s opinion.
Evans was excellent in the Dragons’ narrow away defeats to Bayonne and Cardiff Blues as well as the home setback against the Ospreys in recent weeks.
He has twice been called into the Wales squad before – in 2009 for the North America tour and for 2011’s post-World Cup game against Australia – but remains uncapped.
Evans is a versatile operator in the back row but has been playing mostly at blindside flanker this season.
In the Wales squad for the Six Nations, he lost out to number six candidates Ryan Jones, Aaron Shingler and Josh Nav-idi.
But McBryde urges him not to give up hope.
“He has really picked up his performances in the past fortnight and has been playing extremely well,” he said.
“You are surprised sometimes when you have injuries that people ask you, ‘who are we going to turn to next?’ “If you look closely enough, the talent is there and Lewis has been unlucky. We do have options out there.”
McBryde added: “Consistency is the thing and he perhaps hasn’t played as well throughout the season as he has in the last couple of weeks.
“The door is not closed and with that consistency, there is always hope.”
Wales have called up two uncapped second rows to their squad in Dragon Andrew Coombs and the Ospreys’ 22-year-old James King.
They currently have three locks out injured in Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies (ankle) and Luke Charteris (knee).
Some pundits had tipped a recall for veteran former Dragons warrior Ian Gough at the age of 36 as he keeps rolling back the years.
In response to being asked if the Ospreys forward – outstanding in their 15-15 Heineken Cup draw with Leicester on Sunday – did come close to making an international comeback, McBryde answered: “We have to look ahead – it would be all too easy to turn back and have picked Ian Gough or (33-year-old Dragons lock) Rob Sidoli.
“How much we would have benefited from that in the long or short-term, who knows?
“We have to look to the future and have faith in the players coming through.”