Lions adds to Powell’s game

Lions No8 Andy Powell has returned from the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa a better player, says his regional coach. [more]

Lions adds to Powell’s game

Lions No8 Andy Powell has returned from the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa a better player, says his regional coach.

Powell was named in Ian McGeechan’s original 37-man Lions squad in April despite only making his international debut in November 2008.

His inclusion amongst Britain and Ireland’s elite capped a remarkable rise to the top of the game for the Welshman who had previously been considered a potential star rather than a player ready to make his mark on the world stage.

Despite being named in Graham Henry’s training squad for Wales’ 2002 Six Nations campaign, Powell didn’t reach the dizzy heights many expected until far later in his career.

Having started so brightly with Newport and then the Dragons following international honours at Youth, U19 and U21 level, Powell’s form slipped off and he departed Rodney Parade for French side Beziers, then English giants Leicester, before returning to Wales with the Scarlets. From there Powell moved to current side the Blues in 2005 but almost quit the game at the end of the 2006/07 season after suffering two major injuries.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

Fortunately, Powell persevered and was rewarded with the ultimate accolade when a senior Welsh debut against the Springboks last autumn was followed by a Lions tour spot a few months later.

And if Powell’s progress over the last year or so has been impressive, Blues coach Dai Young believes his No8’s experience with the Lions has seen him become an even better player.

"He enhanced his reputation with the Lions," said Young, who himself represented Britain and Ireland on the 1989, 1997 and 2001 Lions tours.

"In his words, he felt he was a bit quiet in the first game or two but towards the end he was really pushing for the Test spot. He’s come back a better player."

Powell played five games for the 2009 Lions, missing out on a Test place to Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip, but featuring against the Emerging Springboks, Southern Kings, Western Province, Cheetahs and the Golden Lions.

He was rested for the Blues opening Magners League defeat to Edinburgh last weekend but has been named on the bench for this evening’s trip to Munster.

"Andy is raring to go. We want to give him game time depending on how the game is going," added Young.

"We’ve allowed him the rest time he fully deserved, and now he’s fully fit and eager to get his hands on the ball and get back into playing rugby."

Previous story Sarries still English
Next story Tri Nations invite for Argentina
Download