Owens backs Wales to ‘raise eyebrows’ at World Cup

Wales captain Ken Owens said on Saturday his side will “raise some eyebrows” at this year’s Rugby World Cup despite finishing fifth in the Six Nations.

Wales won just once during the league and will open their World Cup campaign against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 8th.

Warren Gatland returned as head coach for the annual tournament after Wayne Pivac was sacked in December and found himself caught up in a morass of off-field bickering.

In January, Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chairman Steve Phillips resigned after the governing body faced allegations of a “toxic culture” with claims of sexism, racism and homophobia by former staff.

Last month, a players’ strike over contract issues was called off just days before a defeat by England.

Earlier on Saturday, WRU announced that its professional teams could finally offer new contracts to players after months of discussions.

“I’ve been proud of the performance of the players throughout the season,” Owens told reporters after a 41-28 loss to France.

“The more time we spend together, the better we get.

“We will raise some eyebrows at the World Cup,” he added.

Owens turned 36 in January and was one of nine players aged 30 and over in the Wales team during their defeat by World Cup hosts France.

“Personally and for a lot of the guys it’s probably going to be our last Six Nations game, it’s got to come at some point,” Owens said.

“We talked about showing character and having a special occasion for Taulupe Faletau’s 100th and Dillon Lewis’ 50th,” he added.

Owens was absent for a training camp in Nice last week as he returned to Wales for the birth of his second child.

“It’s been an interesting week. I had to leave the boys on Tuesday night to fly back. I haven’t trained much this week,” he added.

“I’ll be back with the family tomorrow and hopefully (Scarlet’s head coach) Dwayne Peel will give me a nice week off to enjoy with the family,” he added.



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