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Wales Online
Wales Online
Jon Doel

Tonight's rugby news as Steve Hansen makes pointed Wayne Pivac comment amid 'awkward' Gatland situation

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Monday, March 20.

Hansen's verdict on Wales

Former Wales and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says old rival Warren Gatland is in an "awkward" spot trying to juggle a squad in transition so close to the World Cup.

Hansen believes Gatland will make the right calls in the months ahead, but also made the point that Wales and England's problems clearly ran deeper than the coaches they sacked following the autumn internationals, Wayne Pivac and Eddie Jones.

Hansen will be back on UK soil in May as he takes charge of a World XV against Eddie Jones' Barbarians at Twickenahm on May 28.

He said: “Wales look like they’re struggling a little bit. It’s been a big upheaval with a new coach coming in, and they had numerous guys playing with over 100 Test caps in their side.

“So does [Gatland] have a clean out before the World Cup, or does he do it afterwards? That’s a big challenge for him, but I’m sure they’ll make the right decisions.

“You don’t want to be going into a World Cup with an inexperienced side, but you don’t want to be going with one that’s over the hill either. It’s an awkward situation to be in.

“It’s interesting. The two coaches who got sacked from England and Wales [Eddie Jones and Wayne Pivac] will be looking back thinking, ‘well, there you go. It wasn’t just the coaches, was it?’”

General admission tickets for the blockbuster Barbarian F.C. vs World XV clash are on sale now from at the early-bird price of just £25* for adults and £15* for under-16s.

Six Nations Player of the Tournament shortlist

Three Ireland players are among the nominations for this season's Guinness Six Nations player of the championship.

Full-back Hugo Keenan, wing Mack Hansen and back-row forward Caelan Doris have all made the six-strong list.

It comes following Ireland's Grand Slam triumph, which they achieved with victory over England in Dublin on Saturday.

Irish players have won the prestigious award on seven previous occasions, with Brian O'Driscoll the only person to land it three times.

That record could be be matched by France captain Antoine Dupont - winner in 2020 and 2022 - who is joined on the shortlist by Les Bleus team-mates Thomas Ramos and Damian Penaud.

The winner - to be announced later this week - is decided by a fans' vote.

The fans' Wales Six Nations verdict: Have your say

Welsh youngster joins Gloucester

Gloucester have announced the signing of highly-rated Cardiff centre Max Llewellyn.

Llewellyn, who had been tipped by some pundits as an outsider to make Wales' Guinness Six Nations squad, will move to the Gallagher Premiership in time for next season.

The 24-year-old, who is qualified for Wales and England, has made almost 40 Cardiff appearances and is a former Wales Under-20 international.

His father Gareth won 92 caps for Wales between 1989 and 2004.

Gloucester head coach George Skivington said: "Max has been really impressive for Cardiff over the last couple of seasons, and we know he is relishing the prospect of challenging himself in the Premiership.

"He is a big lad and he enjoys that physical side of the game, but that is not the only string to his bow."

Ireland 'nowhere near' where they want to be

By Ed Elliot, PA

Andy Farrell insists Ireland's game is "nowhere near" where he would like it to be as he seeks to keep driving standards on the back of Grand Slam success.

The world's number one team delivered on pre-tournament expectations by romping to the Guinness Six Nations title with an impressive clean sweep sealed by Saturday evening's 29-16 win over England in Dublin.

Ireland were never more than six points behind during the championship and combined grit and guile to produce their signature free-flowing rugby amid substantial injury adversity.

Head coach Farrell was pleased with the control his squad displayed during the competition but is striving for improvement moving towards the autumn World Cup in France.

"What's very pleasing is that we're not a side who just kicks the leather off the ball and just goes for territory the whole time," he said.

"We're a side that likes to play some rugby, and territory and possession is pretty important for us and we still find a way how to generate good field position and dominate large parts of games.

"And it's nice, isn't it, to have that blend and to put that out on the field and believe in it?

"So our game's in good shape but it's nowhere near where we want it to be, so that's a great spot to be in."

Read more:

Gatland's shock Six Nations call-up on verge of leaving Welsh rugby for England

New World Rugby rankings show chasm has opened up before World Cup

Jiffy amazed by Gatland comments and points finger at those 'failing our youngsters'

Scarlets star leaves with immediate effect as departures keep coming

Today's rugby news as Wales coach admits it's 'men against boys' as team destroyed on darkest night

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