Lewis Evans can make Wales breakthrough, says Dragons boss Lyn Jones
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons back row forward Lewis Evans has been told that maintaining his fine form will secure an elusive Wales breakthrough.
The 26-year-old, who can play 6, 7 or 8, has made a terrific start to the season but missed out on Warren Gatland's 35-man squad for the autumn internationals.
The Welsh back row is an area of considerable strength and all five of those that got the nod – Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau, Dan Lydiate and Ryan Jones – have played for the British and Irish Lions as well as their country.
But Evans, who was named in international training squads in 2009 and 2011, has been told to make sure he is the one that Gatland turns to if he needs of cover, with a golden opportunity to impress looming thanks to Friday's derby against the Ospreys.
"I think Lewis is a little unlucky not to get a call-up but that doesn't mean that he gives up," said director of rugby Lyn Jones, who won five caps in the Welsh back row.
"He needs to keep at it and eventually he will get his just rewards as long as he carries on with the standard of rugby that he is currently producing.
"The thing for Lewis is that there is a lot of talent in the back row in Wales, so like everybody else he is just waiting for an opportunity to come and I am sure it will."
The Dragons have just two members of the Wales squad – number eight Faletau and lock Andrew Coombs – despite a making a good start to the campaign to sit as second-placed Welsh region.
Scrum-half Richie Rees failed to dislodge out-of-sorts Cardiff Blues rival Lloyd Williams, teenage full-back/wing Hallam Amos must bide his time while 18-year-old centre Jack Dixon was in the mix only to suffer a toe injury.
Jones believes that there is plenty of talent in the Dragons ranks but that they are hindered by past results, especially a disastrous 2012/13 when they finished one from bottom in the RaboDirect Pro12.
"Maybe the perception doesn't match the reality," said director of rugby Lyn Jones. "I am fortunate to work with these players and I understand how good there are.
"I'm not surprised to have just two in the squad, we've had some players turning heads but to play international rugby you have got to show consistency of performance and we've failed to do that this year.
"With that in mind two representatives is probably a fair call but as long as we carry on developing and moving in the right direction it might be different by the Six Nations."
And forwards coach Kingsley Jones hopes that the Wales management team are given a timely nudge by events at the Liberty Stadium.
"Games like Friday are the opportunity to say to the Wales coaches 'please think of me next time around' or to make sure they are ready to go if there is an injury," he said.
"Our players have to keep performing well as individuals, then the results will come for the team and that will be reflected in the Welsh squad."
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