Wildcard Harry wings way into Gatland's Wales plans for Six Nations
Shane Williams may have retired from international rugby but a little dancing winger still stole the show when Wales’ Six Nations squad was announced.
Warren Gatland selected Harry Robinson, 18, in his preliminary 35-man group and marked the wildcard on the wing as one to watch for the future.
The Cardiff Blues speedster, picked after an eye-catching cameo against Leinster two weeks ago, has the agility, pace and fancy footwork of his celebrated predecessor Williams — and at 5ft 10in he can probably fit into the same shirt, too.
Pocket rocket: Robinson in action for Wales Under 20s last year
Forwards: C Mitchell (Exeter Chiefs), Adam Jones (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), P James (Ospreys), R Gill (Saracens), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), M Rees (Scarlets), H Bennett (Ospreys), K Owens (Scarlets), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), I Evans (Ospreys), L Reed (Scarlets), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Sale Sharks).
Backs: M Phillips (Bayonne), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Webb (Ospreys), R Priestland (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), G Henson (Cardiff Blues), A Beck (Ospreys), G North (Scarlets), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), H Robinson (Cardiff Blues), L Williams (Scarlets), L /01/18/article-2088537-0E5A1B8400000578-754_468x414.jpg” width=”468″ height=”414″ alt=”Making the call: Warren Gatland is hoping to build on Wales' successful World Cup campaign ” class=”blkBorder” />
Making the call: Warren Gatland is hoping to build on Wales' successful World Cup campaign
Gatland, who has followed Robinson’s progress through Wales’s youth teams, said: ‘Harry reminds me of Jason Robinson in the way he darts around. He’s young, confident and talented. I’ve been really impressed with him, particularly in the sevens, and he’s looked sharp with the Blues.’
Centre Jamie Roberts, Robinson’s team-mate for club and country, added: ‘He’s definitely reminds me of Shane. He’s pretty small but he’s very powerful, agile, quick, with a great physique and attitude.
‘He’s very likeable with his film- star looks. I’m sure the ladies will be after him now he’s been named in the squad!’
Return of the dragon: Gavin Henson is back in the Wales squad
A different squad member already loved by the ladies is Henson, who squeezed in pre-World Cup training around filming for a reality TV dating show. Although he has played only 10 times for Wales since the 2007 World Cup, Gatland clearly feels he is worth the baggage.
‘Gavin definitely wasn’t the first name on the sheet but it’s an opportunity for him to come in and impress,’ he said. ‘The last time we were together he did well — mixing filming for The Bachelor and playing a bit of rugby — but his attitude was great, he looked sharp and trained hard.
‘You keep asking yourself if it’s more hassle than it’s worth because of the speculation. I can only talk about how Gavin’s been in our environment and he’s always been great.
‘He’s underdone at the moment — you have to go back to 2008 when he was exceptional — but he’s very strong defensively and I hope he’ll bring out the best in one or two other players, just keeping them on their toes.’
There is no room for Stephen Jones, but Gatland has picked players based outside Wales, even if they can only spend three days with the squad next week.