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Ioan Lloyd Knows All About The Talent Of Ireland’s Jack Crowley As He Prepares To Renew Rivalry

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By David Parsons

When Wales do their homework on new Irish outside half Jack Crowley they won’t have to look far for insight.

Four years ago the Munster man steered the Ireland U20 team to a convincing 36-22 win over Wales in Cork, converting four of his side’s five tries and adding a penalty for good measure.

Directly opposite him that day was Sam Costelow, while at full back was Ioan Lloyd.

Both players are now at the Scarlets and vying for the coveted No 10 red jersey, with Lloyd remembering just how good the 24-year-old Crowley was that day.

“It was clear then that he was hell of a player, and he was going to go on to big things. I was playing at full back on that occasion, and we lost,” said Lloyd.

“I’ve obviously watched a lot of him for Munster and he is a hell of a player, isn’t he?

“I obviously watched him on the weekend as well, and he is going really well, which is good to see.”

While Crowley is just emerging from the considerable shadow of Johnny Sexton, both Costelow and Lloyd are on probation following the international retirement of another totem figure in Dan Biggar.

Where Sexton dominated his position in the Irish team over the course of his 119 cap, 14 year Test career, Biggar did the same for Wales during the course of his 112 caps between 2008-2023.

The times are now changing, and while the two wins in the current Six Nations championship have underlined Crowley’s fitness and credentials to take over from the Irish master, the jury is still very much out on who should succeed Biggar.

The recent death of Barry John caused a surge of nostalgia in the No 10 position in Wales and pressure to succeed, and in some style, has been building on Costelow and Lloyd.

It was Costelow, who understudied Biggar at the World Cup in France, who started against Scotland in Round 1 earlier this month, while Lloyd got his first start in his preferred position at Twickenham having replaced his clubmate in the first-half against the Scots.

“Barry John was an unbelievable player, someone my dad showed me about

“When I was younger my Dad used to show me YouTube clips of Barry John playing. He was an unbelievable player – I’d never have the cheek to compare myself to someone like that,” said Lloyd, who played all over the back line at Bristol Bears in his developmental years.

“I see myself as an outside half, although obviously any opportunity to pull on the red jersey – whether it’s at prop or outside half – I’ll take.

“Outside half is where I’ve always played and where I see myself.

“I try not to think about external factors too much, I just try and go out there and play rugby. I’m just trying to put my best foot forward and execute my role within the team.

“In the No 10 position you are one of the game drivers, one of the main game leaders, so that sort of pressure is expected.

“It’s something that I anticipated moving into the jersey. I think No 10s everywhere will come under a lot of scrutiny, and probably not receive as much praise as they should in other aspects.

“I think I’ve got a strong running game, and I feel my kicking game is a strength. It’s all about learning from the opportunities I’ve had in the past couple of weeks and implementing them into my game as quickly as possible.

“We’re a young team, but that doesn’t mean these games are throwaway games. We’re still going into them expecting to win and expecting a certain standard from each other.

“The experience isn’t necessarily there from all of us, but we’ve still got that confidence in training and games that we can execute. When we don’t, it’s very disappointing.”

A one-point defeat against the Scots was followed by a two-point reverse at Twickenham leaving Warren Gatland, his players and the Welsh fans dreaming of what might have been – but fully realizing the enormity of the challenge ahead at the Aviva Stadium.

Wales haven’t won a championship fixture in Dublin since they won the Grand Slam in 2012. Lloyd is hoping he can hold off the challenge of Costelow to remain in the starting XV in the Irish capital and have an even closer match-up with Crowley.

Ioan Lloyd Out To Stay In Office At No.10 For Wales

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