Wales lock Andrew Coombs gunning for Twickenham spot
8:34am Tuesday 25th February 2014 in Sport
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons captain Andrew Coombs hasn't given up hope of forcing his way into the matchday squad for Wales' crunch Six Nations clash against England, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 29-year-old lock has played in all three competition encounters so far, starting against Ireland in Dublin and coming off the bench against Italy and France at the Millennium Stadium.
He was initially left out of the 23 to take on Les Bleus last Friday only to earn a late call-up courtesy of Alun Wyn Jones' foot infection but the Lions skipper is expected to be back for Twickenham.
The Ospreys lock is a shoo-in and the partnership of Luke Charteris and Jake Ball performed admirably against a powerful France front eight.
That would leave Coombs up against it if he is to feature in a clash that will go a long way towards determining the destination of the Six Nations title.
But the Dragons man, who played four of five games in the 2013 triumph, will give it his all in training at the Vale of Glamorgan headquarters over the next fortnight in an attempt to be involved.
"It's going to be tough because the boys played well against France but I definitely feel that I can do a job coming off the bench," he said.
"I feel like I can add some impact so hopefully I can get a chance to do that at Twickenham.
"I was pretty low at the start of last week but rugby is a funny old sport and you just have to pick yourself up and things turned around for me.
"I would have loved to have been in the starting Welsh team but I was happy to take the late call-up to the bench."
Coombs enjoyed a 10-minute cameo against the French and then played the whole 80 for the Dragons against Glasgow on Sunday, starting at lock and playing the final quarter in the back row.
He didn't lead the side – that honour fell to centre Ashley Smith – but more than played his part in a terrific 24-23 win against the RaboDirect Pro12 title hopefuls.
"I had the bad news on the Tuesday that I wasn't playing for Wales and my reaction was to ask to play to get some rugby," he said.
"It was a massive game for us and I wanted to be part of it to help beat Glasgow. I'd never had two wins in a weekend before and it was great.
"We are a stronger team this year and we have experienced players like Richie Rees and Rhys Thomas who know how to win and keep the younger boys going. We performed well and got the result that we deserved."