By Graeme Gillespie
A fortnight ago he was celebrating his 200th game for the Scarlets and now he has an even bigger landmark to toast – becoming a British & Irish Lion.
Ken Owens wonderful season simply gets better and better and now the 30-year-old is hoping to keep his side on track for a play-off place in the Guinness PRO12 before he heads to New Zealand for the second summer in a row.
One of three Scarlets players selected in Warren Gatland’s 41-strong squad, Owens follows in the footsteps of former Parc y Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees in becoming a Lion. He will be joined by clubmates Jonathan Davies and Liam Williams.
Owens was glued to a TV set while on holiday with his wife, Carys, and son, Evan, wondering if he was going to be included. Then he heard his name.
“I know people think that we have advanced warning, but I found out like everyone else! We’re away in Pembrokeshire on a short break with family and friends and we managed to find a TV to watch the announcement,” said Owens.
“It was a bit surreal hearing it to be honest. I’ve watched a couple of Lions squads named in the past and it was definitely nice to have my name read out.
“As nice as it was it was definitely quite nerve-wracking. ‘O’ is quite far down the alphabet so I had to wait quite a bit for it to be read out.
“Representing the Lions is the pinnacle of a player’s rugby career and is one of the highest honours a player can get. To go on a Lions tour is massive and it’ll be up there as one of the best rugby experiences of my rugby life, although it’s still quite a shock!
“It’s been a great season already, but there’s plenty of rugby still to be played. The Scarlets are still in the race for a PRO12 play-off spot and we’ll be concentrating on that first!
“It’s great being named for the Lions tour, but you want to win the Tests out there. We have plenty of work to do.”