Wales flanker Alex Mann says Warren Gatland’s younger aspect have a ‘particular bond’ as he seems to be forward to crunch Six Nations journey to Dublin to face Eire


  • Wales face title favourites Eire after slim defeats by Scotland and England
  • Warren Gatland believes Alex Mann has what it takes to make it at Take a look at degree 
  • The 22-year-old has scored in each of his worldwide appearances to this point 

Alex Mann is a former Cardiff Metropolis academy centre-half with simply 12 skilled membership rugby video games to his title who has all of a sudden discovered himself enjoying at his sport’s highest degree.

Mann is 22 however seems to be far youthful though that hasn’t stopped him from standing out after being thrown in on the deep finish with Wales on this Six Nations.

The Merthyr Tydfil-born flanker, who captained his nation for 2 straight seasons at Underneath-20 degree, is the Championship’s joint second high strive scorer with two.

Mann has scored in each of his worldwide appearances to this point. He got here off the bench towards Scotland to be pushed over from a line-out and in addition crossed towards England at Twickenham, ending off a effective crew transfer which concerned Tommy Reffell and Tomos Williams.

‘He’s going to be actual high quality,’ mentioned Wales head coach Warren Gatland of Mann after the 16-14 loss to England – one which adopted a one-point reversal to Scotland in Cardiff.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes Alex Mann has what it takes to make it at Test level

Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes Alex Mann has what it takes to make it at Take a look at degree

‘He’s not the largest on the earth however he jogs my memory of a New Zealand unfastened ahead along with his anticipation, his pace and his footwork.

‘It’s about placing gamers on the market, making them higher, and experiencing what the physicality of an England versus Wales recreation is all about.

‘He’ll enhance from that have.’

Gatland’s evaluation of Mann in his post-match press convention at Twickenham made you sit up and take discover. The New Zealand head coach has labored with so many good gamers in additional than three many years of teaching that he is aware of worldwide class when he sees it.

It is clear Gatland believes Mann – whose youth is proven by the very fact he solely signed a senior contract with Cardiff in the beginning of the 12 months – has what it takes to make it at Take a look at degree.

‘You do something for a win while you pull on that jersey,’ mentioned Mann, who’s more likely to win his third Wales cap when Gatland’s crew journey to Dublin for a frightening conflict with Eire on Saturday.

‘All of the boys wish to do is win. It’s actually disappointing. Everybody is aware of this can be a younger group and we’re growing. Hopefully the bounce of the ball can go our manner subsequent time.

‘Plenty of us have performed with one another whether or not it’s at Underneath-18’s, Underneath-20’s or on the identical membership. I feel there’s a particular bond. We’re creating one thing actually good right here.

‘We’ve obtained to sit up for this week. We’ve simply obtained to again ourselves and hold doing what we’re doing. We’re coaching exhausting like we’ve got carried out for the final three or 4 weeks.

The 22-year-old forward has scored in both of his international appearances so far

The 22-year-old ahead has scored in each of his worldwide appearances to this point

‘We have to go and present what we will do.’

Mann left soccer behind for a profession in rugby. However the reality he’s already enjoying on the elite degree regardless of nonetheless being a novice membership participant is a mirrored image of the place Wales are proper now.

Gatland has been compelled to start out once more after final 12 months’s World Cup. Wales have misplaced so many skilled gamers there was no different alternative than to provide youth its probability.

Nonetheless, the function of historic poor administration of the nation’s nationwide recreation by the Welsh Rugby Union in taking Wales up to now should not be underplayed.

Mann – and his Cardiff team-mate Cameron Winnett – have proven already in 2024 that Wales is a rugby nation that may all the time produce expertise. Right here’s hoping the newest era will see the sport sooner or later managed higher than it has been up to now.

‘I’ve all the time performed rugby since I used to be younger however then I had a nasty break in my elbow and my shoulder and my buddy was enjoying soccer so I assumed I might give {that a} go,’ mentioned Mann, who stays shut buddies with Cardiff striker Isaak Davies from their time collectively on the membership’s junior degree.

‘I had 5 years in soccer. I began with Cwmbach, obtained scouted, after which went straight into the academy then and performed with Cardiff Metropolis.

‘The skilled set-up I feel has helped me rather a lot from a younger age. Then I began enjoying rugby once more at school. I knew right away that was for me. It simply got here naturally.

‘I had a dialog with my mam and pa and mentioned rugby is for me. I feel they knew anyway.’

Wales on Monday referred to as up uncapped tighthead prop Harri O’Connor to their squad making ready for Eire. He joins Keiron Assiratti and Dillon Lewis as No 3 choices.

Warren Gatland's side face title favourites Ireland after defeats by Scotland and England

Warren Gatland’s aspect face title favourites Eire after defeats by Scotland and England 

Andy Farrell’s Eire look on target for a second straight grand slam title having overwhelmed France and Italy within the 2024 Championship to this point.

Wales are with no win and haven’t tasted success within the Six Nations on the Aviva Stadium since 2012.

An Eire victory and a 3rd straight Welsh defeat seems to be possible, however Mann and his younger team-mates will look to trigger a giant shock.

No matter occurs, their studying expertise will definitely proceed.

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