Tipuric tipped for Wales bow
July 26, 2011
Ospreys flanker Justin Tipuric is pushing for a Wales debut against England in two weeks © PA Photos
Wales lock Alun-Wyn Jones insists his Ospreys team-mate Justin Tipuric is "something special" and destined to follow him into a Welsh shirt.
The openside flanker is one of two uncapped players in Warren Gatland's 35-man Rugby World Cup training squad currently in Poland preparing for their warm-up matches, which start against England at Twickenham on August 6. And Jones believes that his Ospreys team-mate is good enough to make his debut against their old rivals.
"I know I'm biased because of the Ospreys connection, but I've seen a lot of 'Tips' and he is definitely something special," said the 49-cap second-row, who has also represented the British and Irish Lions.
"He's got all the attributes and a rugby brain beyond his years. He has a big future ahead of him and I can't wait to see him in a Wales shirt."
In Jones' absence Tipuric captained the Ospreys against Leinster earlier this year and has also led the national side at under-20 level. He finished the Junior World Championship in Japan in as the second top try scorer with six touchdowns.
Tipuric is now exclusively focused on making the senior squads for the warm-up games against England (twice) and Argentina. Competition in the back-row will be intense with Martyn Williams among the opensides chasing a spot in Gatland's squad. Tipuric is eager to learn as much as possible from the veteran flanker but will not defer in the fight for a World Cup place.
"It's special being here with Wales and I'm loving the training, but a cap would just top it all off," said Tipuric. "I'm training alongside a Welsh legend in Martyn (Williams), but you have to put that out of your mind.
"The whole back-row do everything together, from all the fitness testing to when you get out on the training pitch, so it is extremely competitive.
"I've looked up to him in the past, but things are so competitive at this level, that you can't afford to think in those terms. It's a similar experience to the one at the Ospreys, of trying to break through when the players you are training with are the ones you were watching and supporting from the stands.
"Marty Holah is another player with a huge reputation that could intimidate you as a youngster coming through if you let it, but you just have to put that kind of thing out of your mind and get stuck in.
"I'm just a boy who plays rugby and wants to wear that Wales jersey and I've got to push my way through if I get the chance. I've just got to try to be the best that I can be."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape
Move over, Castro - from falling off a chair to stepping off the team bus, Scrum Sevens recounts some of the strangest rugby injuries ever
Martin Gillingham on the latest from France and why the national side can learn a thing or two from Top 14 side Bordeaux Begles