Owen Watkin keen to prove a point when Wales take on France

By Sports Desk March 09, 2024

Owen Watkin hopes he can “prove a point” when he returns to Wales’ midfield against Guinness Six Nations opponents France on Sunday.

The Ospreys centre has been in and out of favour since winning the first of 37 caps against Australia in 2017.

He was overlooked for last year’s World Cup, not featuring among seven centres chosen by Wales head coach Warren Gatland in a preliminary training squad.

Watkin then gained a recall against Scotland in Wales’ Six Nations opener, only to be omitted for appointments with England and Ireland.

But he has been handed another opportunity, replacing Nick Tompkins as part of a new-look midfield combination with Joe Roberts.

Tompkins and 120 times-capped George North miss out this time around, and it is a golden chance for Watkin and Six Nations debutant Roberts to excel together at the start of a World Cup cycle.

“I am sure Nick and George are disappointed at not playing, but Joe and I have been disappointed as well when we haven’t played in the last two games,” Watkin said.

“I just want to get on the field, but I do enjoy playing at inside centre and it is where I have played for most of the season at the Ospreys.

“Nick and George have played together in the last two games, and so Joe and I have been the opposition for them in training. You come to terms with a combination quite quickly.

“Joe is still pretty young, but I am looking forward to seeing him getting out and playing at the weekend. Hopefully, we can build a partnership together.

“I’ve got a chance to prove a point and show I am really capable of holding on to the 12 or 13 jersey.”

Wales have suffered four successive Six Nations defeats against France, while their only victories in the last 14 tournament starts were against Scotland in 2022 and Italy last year.

France, though, are also struggling on the back of a comprehensive defeat against Ireland and a home draw with Italy.

Watkin added: “We know it is going to be a massive test for our back-line, but I think we’ve got a back-line that can cause problems.

“France haven’t been consistent, but you can never doubt a French team. They can turn up when they want, and when you look at their team they have got some really dangerous players.

“We’ve got to be on our game for 80 minutes.”

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    Austria – Marcel Sabitzer

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    France – Kylian Mbappe 

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    MATCH PREDICTION – FRANCE WIN

    France enter Euro 2024 as one of the favourites, with the Opta supercomputer giving them a 19.1 per cent chance of lifting the trophy before the tournament began. They are expected to live up to that billing here.

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Austria – 15.5% 

    France – 65.8%

    Draw – 18.7%

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