Ioan Lloyd benefits from presence of ex-Wales half-backs in adapting to role

By Sports Desk February 13, 2024

Ioan Lloyd feels he has benefited from the presence of former international half-backs Neil Jenkins and Rob Howley in adapting to life as Wales’ number 10.

Lloyd helped orchestrate Wales’ thrilling fightback from 27-0 adrift in their opening Guinness Six Nations game against Scotland, after going on as replacement for an injured Sam Costelow.

His first Wales start then came in the fly-half role at Twickenham last weekend during a 16-14 defeat against England.

The 22-year-old’s impressive versatility has also seen him feature as a full-back, wing and centre during his club and regional career with Bristol and now the Scarlets.

But he admitted that fly-half was his preferred position and he was making the most of having ex-Wales pair Jenkins and Howley, who won almost 150 caps between them, as part of the national squad coaching staff.

“Neil Jenkins has talked a lot about speed into position – and Rob Howley has as well – and also speed from catch to whatever you are going to do, whether it is pass or kick,” Lloyd said.

“We’ve talked a lot through it and obviously I have got to see exactly what he (Jenkins) is talking about over the last couple of weeks. I think that little bit of a reminder has helped me a lot.

“I think the 10 position is one of the game-drivers, one of the main game-leaders, so that sort of pressure is expected.

“It is something that I have anticipated going into the 10 jersey. I think 10s everywhere will take a lot of scrutiny and probably not as much praise as they should in other aspects.

“I am just trying to put my best foot forward and execute my role within the team. There are a lot of learnings from the first two weekends.

“I try not to think about external factors too much, I just try and go out there and play rugby.

“I see myself as a fly-half. Obviously, any opportunity to pull on the red jersey – whether it’s at prop or fly-half – I will take it.”

With Costelow now fit again following a neck problem, it remains to be seen which direction Wales head coach Warren Gatland goes in for fly-half duty against runaway Six Nations title favourites Ireland on Saturday week.

And while Wales have lost their opening two Six Nations games – albeit by a combined margin of just three points – there were also plenty of positive signs from a new-look squad.

Lloyd added: “We talk a lot about playing heads-up rugby, the pictures in front of us and not being afraid to take the opportunities when they come.

“Obviously, there is a fine balance between that and taking risks.

“I think the stuff we tried at the weekend (at Twickenham) weren’t risks. We felt they were on and that is where the space was.

“Execution comes into that then and ours wasn’t good enough at times. I think that is something we can build on.

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

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

Related items

  • All Blacks captain Cane to retire from international rugby All Blacks captain Cane to retire from international rugby

    New Zealand captain Sam Cane has announced he will retire from international rugby at the end of 2024, having agreed a three-year contract with Japan Rugby League One team Tokyo Sungoliath.

    Cane made his All Blacks debut in 2012 and has represented his country 95 times, including through the team's triumphant run at the 2015 World Cup.

    The flanker succeeded Kieran Read as captain in 2020, though his most recent international outing ended with him suffering the ignominy of becoming the first man to be sent off in a Rugby World Cup final, as New Zealand were beaten by South Africa last year.

    Cane will be eligible to represent the All Blacks through the second half of 2024 after returning from an initial spell in Japan but will then head there permanently after New Zealand Rugby agreed to release him from his contract. 

    "A good opportunity came my way with Sungoliath willing to offer me a three-year contract," Cane said. "I had to weigh up everything and, in the end, with a young family it seemed like the best decision to help set us up for our future.

    "I had my time as captain and it was a huge honour and privilege. If I'm fortunate enough to be selected for the All Blacks this year then I'll still be myself. 

    "I love that team, and if part of my role is contributing leadership-wise, I'll be happy to support the new captain as best I can to help with a speedy transition."

  • Seales takes second five-wicket haul in a row for Sussex; Holder smashes 123* for Worcestershire Seales takes second five-wicket haul in a row for Sussex; Holder smashes 123* for Worcestershire

    Jayden Seales continued his excellent form so far for Sussex CCC in this season’s County Championship Division Two with another five-wicket haul, this time against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

    Seales has, so far, taken 5-101 in 23 overs as Glamorgan have advanced to 411-9 off 102 overs, replying to Sussex’s 278 all out off 87.2 overs on day one.

    Glamorgan’s batting effort was led by excellent centuries from Colin Ingram and Kiran Carlson.

    Ingram led the way with a 248-ball 170 including 23 fours and three sixes while Carlson made 148 off 217 balls and hit 21 fours in the process.

    Seales and Sussex will enter day three on Sunday trailing Glamorgan by 133 runs looking to dismiss them as quickly as possible.

    Full scores:

    Sussex 278 off 87.2 overs (Fynn Hudson-Prentice 48, Cheteshwar Pujara 41, Jack Carson 39, Aristides Karvelas 39, Mir Hamza 4-70, James Harris 4-93)

    Glamorgan 411-9 off 102 overs (Colin Ingram 170, Kiran Carlson 148, Jayden Seales 5-101)

    Elsewhere, Jason Holder was one of three Worcestershire batsmen to make centuries as they piled up a massive 618-7 declared in their first innings against Kent on day two at the St. Lawrence Ground in Canterbury.

    Holder made a brilliant 123* off just 110 balls including seven fours and three sixes while Gareth Roderick and Matthew Waite both also reached three figures with 117 and 100*, respectively. 

    Adam Hose fell just ten runs short of a century himself.

    Joey Evison and Matt Parkinson each ended with three wicket-hauls for Kent.

    In reply, Kent reached 111-2 at stumps with Captain Daniel Bell-Drummond (54*0 and Jack Leaning (43*) at the crease.

    Joe Leach has taken both wickets to fall so far.

    Full scores: 

    Worcestershire 617-8 dec. off 158.5 overs (Jason Holder 123*, Gareth Roderick 117, Matthew Waite 100*, Adam Hose 90, Joey Evison 3-58, Matt Parkinson 3-201)

    Kent 111-2 off 33 overs (Daniel Bell-Drummond 54*, Jack Leaning 43*, Joe Leach 2-12)

  • Rees-Zammit relishing Mahomes advice as former rugby star eyes spot on Chiefs roster Rees-Zammit relishing Mahomes advice as former rugby star eyes spot on Chiefs roster

    Louis Rees-Zammit has likened Patrick Mahomes to an extra coach as he looks to make an impact in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Rees-Zammit shocked rugby union fans in January when he announced he was turning his back on the sport to enter the NFL's International Player Pathway programme. 

    He was signed by two-time defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City in March and is now looking to earn a place on their roster for 2024, learning the role of running back at the Chiefs' rookie minicamp after attending another training camp alongside Mahomes. 

    Rees-Zammit has made sure to pick the brains of Mahomes, who has led the Chiefs to six straight AFC Championship games and won three Super Bowl rings since being drafted in 2017.

    "It was amazing, all the quarterbacks and receivers were there, we were running routes, we were working in the gym", Rees-Zammit said of his experience at that camp in Texas.

    "It was a great two weeks, I definitely learned a lot with Pat and the other boys."

    Asked if Mahomes was acting like an extra coach, he said: "100 per cent. 

    "I'm new to the game so I'm trying to pick everyone's brains and try and pick up the sport as quick as possible because I want to be out there playing.

    "The way I can do that is picking the brains of everyone that's currently here and trying to learn the game as quickly as possible."

    Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has been impressed by Rees-Zammit's attitude, saying: "He's so diligent with everything and wants to be so good at everything. I appreciate that. 

    "I like the fact he's got shorter steps initially, that's a good thing as a running back. If you're a long strider in there you've got to really work on making it through those tight adjustments you have to make. He seems to have a nice feel."
     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.