“Box Office” Ioan Lloyd Lays Down Case For Wales’ Six Nations Role

Scarlets' Wales contender Ioan Lloyd. Pic: Getty Images

“Box Office” Ioan Lloyd Lays Down Case For Wales’ Six Nations Role

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By Simon Thomas

Wales fly-half contender Ioan Lloyd produced a “box office” display in the Scarlets’ 29-23 bonus point victory over Cardiff Rugby at a packed Arms Park.

The No 10 spot in the Six Nations is very much up for grabs with Dan Biggar having retired from international rugby and Gareth Anscombe unavailable following his move to Japan, while Sam Costelow is currently out injured.

With fellow Scarlet Costelow sidelined, Lloyd is getting an extended run in the side and is really blossoming, producing a Player of the Match performance in the derby clash with Cardiff.

He sparked the back line with his assured distribution and showed real enterprise with his willingness to run from deep and take on defenders.

Speaking after a game in which the Scarlets turned around an early 14-0 deficit, the 22-year-old said: “It was a massive effort from the boys.

“Our biggest theme was getting out there and working for your brothers and we did that.

“Cardiff are a hell of a team. They came out firing and we went two tries down. Credit to all the boys for getting up from there.

“It’s been a tough start to the season, but hopefully we can build some momentum now going into this next block of games.”

Cardiff-product Lloyd hasn’t figured for Wales since being fast-tracked onto the international stage as a teenage full-back in the autumn of 2020.

Having been moved around the Bristol back-line over the last couple of seasons, he returned home this summer with the aim of focusing on fly-half and getting back into the Welsh set-up.

After his fine display at the Arms Park, he was asked if he was now eyeing up the Wales No 10 jersey.
He replied: “Well, that’s the aim, but we’ll see what happens.”

Scarlets coach Dwayne Peel was full of praise for his play-making fly-half.

“He was outstanding. He is electric in attack. He’s box office and he lit up that game,” he said.

“People coming to watch that match – either Scarlets or Cardiff fans – will have thought ‘Bloody hell, he’s good’.

“You have your heart in your mouth sometimes when you see him running from behind your own sticks in a derby, but that’s great.

“As a coach, you are half watching the game with your hands on your head because you don’t know what he’s going to do next, but then the other half you are celebrating what he’s doing.

“He’s growing all the time as a 10 and I thought he was excellent. That was his best performance for us. He is such a threat with ball in hand.”

The Scarlets led 19-14 at the break with skipper Gareth Davies crossing twice from scrum-half, while Cardiff had flanker Ellis Jenkins red carded for a tip tackle on opposite number Dan Davis on 28 minutes.

Final quarter tries from wing Steff Evans and full-back Johnny McNicholl sealed the win for the visitors with the boot of fly-half Tinus de Beer earning a losing bonus point for Cardiff.

After the Welsh derby clash at the Arms Park, England defence coach Kevin Sinfield visited the home dressing room to speak to the Cardiff Rugby players.

The former rugby league star had just completed the second of seven ultra marathons in seven days and received a huge ovation when he was introduced to the packed crowd at half-time.

He is undertaking the epic venture in support of Motor Neurone Disease charities and his friend and former team-mate Rob Burrow.
Cardiff coach Matt Sherratt said: “How he spoke, it puts everything into perspective. It was brilliant.

“We can get wrapped up with a red card or a high tackle. But there’s a guy there who is giving his life and his body to one of his best mates.

“He spoke really well to the players about how important it is to look after each other on the pitch but then off the pitch as well – how they should rally round and care for each other after their playing careers.
“You could have heard a pin drop in there. It was fantastic.”

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