by Joe Mansfield
SCARLETS lock Jake Ball is relishing the potential opportunity to play against Georgia in Wales’ upcoming Autumn Nations Cup game.
The seasoned lock said the game was a chance for players to “put their hand up for selection” when they play the Eastern European nation on Saturday.
Ball was initially frustrated with his lack of involvement in the early parts of the autumn fixtures but acknowledged the hamstring injury he brought into the training camp had been a factor in his limited game time.
“Things haven’t gone great over the last few games but what better chance could you get than to go and play against Georgia and put your hand up?” he said.
The 29-year-old was ruled out of the game against France through injury and wasn’t selected to play against Scotland. He then came off the bench against Ireland and was grateful to be back on the field.
“I was pretty hungry, it was great to get on the field, but obviously it was a disappointing result.”
There has been growing frustration from the Welsh public as the national side have lost six games in succession. Ball, though, has faith that head coach Wayne Pivac can turn things around and implement his game plan successfully.
“I don’t think it’s time to panic at all, I think they are sticking to their guns, which is to try to get a game-plan going and there are a couple of things that have affected that. It’s just about putting them right and I’m sure when it is put right, we will be playing some good rugby.
“They (the Wales coaching team) are trying to implement a game plan and that obviously hasn’t worked, for a number of reasons, we’ve had a couple of issues at set piece and that hasn’t allowed us to build on our game at times.
“So, I suppose it’s just a case of putting a couple of those things right so we can keep hold of the ball.”
The scrum and lineout were particular areas for concern in the defeat to Ireland as Wales struggled to find a platform to build their attack. Wales won just 20% of their scrums and lost possession four times from their lineout.
“We are putting a lot of emphasis on it in training, there is no doubt about that, but it’s about delivering on the weekend at the end of the day.
“It’s well known they are a physical team, I obviously played them in the World Cup. It can be a tough side to break down, it will be a tough game on the weekend at the set-piece, the scrum and at the lineout we will have to drive everything.”