Sport Wales attack coach Jones likes the look of Italy's Welsh-born Varney

19:40  04 december  2020
19:40  04 december  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Welsh - born Gloucester scrum-half Stephen Varney is called up for the first time by Italy for the Six The teenager was named man of the match in Italy ' s Under-20 win against Wales in Colwyn Bay in Varney will compete for a starting berth with former Gloucester teammate Callum Braley, now at

Wales 14 Italy 0, 23 minutes. Italy earn a scrum penalty after Wyn Jones folds at another scrum but Italy launch from a lineout and look lively but Justin Tipuric swoops to force a turnover on the floor. Italy ' s turn to enjoy a spell of possession following Wales ' clearance. Carlo Canna slips a neat offload

Italy's Stephen Varney will make a first Test start against the land of his birth in the Autumn Nations Cup on Saturday, with Wales attack coach Stephen Jones saying there was a "lot to like" about the teenager's game.

a baseball player holding a racket: Varney watch - Wales assistant coach Stephen Jones © CHARLY TRIBALLEAU Varney watch - Wales assistant coach Stephen Jones

Scrum-half Varney, now with English Premiership side Gloucester, was born and bred in Pembrokeshire but the 19-year-old qualified for the Azzurri through his mother Valeria.

She was born in west Wales, but both of her parents were from in Italy.

The son of former Neath and Aberavon flanker Adrian Varney, Stephen had a couple of outings for Scarlets West Under-16s, but wasn't selected to be part of their pathway.

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Wales ( Welsh : Cymru [ˈkəm.rɨ] (listen)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south.

72 mins: Italy 7 Wales 26. Italy within 10 metres of the Welsh line, with a penalty advantage. They get nothing so get the pen for Tipuric side entry. Wales look to respond, going wide with ball back in the Italian half. It comes to nothing, a poor pass to North from Biggar ends the play as North is driven off

Now, however, he will be a member of Italy's run-on side at the region's Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.

"He's breaking into the side, he's obviously a good young talent," Jones told reporters on Friday. "He was with the Italian Under-20s last year. There was a lot to like about his game.

"His speed to the breakdown is good, he's plenty of energy and he likes to orchestrate play."

- 'Play with speed' -

Meanwhile former Wales fly-half Jones urged the hosts to add more pace to their game as they looked to end 2020 by boosting their try count in the Autumn Nations Cup fifth-place play-off.

Wales have scored just three tries in three tournament encounters, and didn't manage one against Ireland.

In February, Wales hammered Italy 42-10 in the Six Nations and anything other than a similarly emphatic win is unlikely to ease the pressure on head coach Wayne Pivac following a run of seven defeats in their last eight Tests.

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Italy interim head coach Franco Smith: " Wales are a top side. It's a pity that we had to have our first start in this way against them. Wales were OK. A bit rusty but a bonus point with a clean sheet is not to be sneezed at. Front row looks a bit fragile but how good is Italy ' s ?

Welsh - born Varney , who is asymptomatic, joined the 34-man international squad in Rome on Monday having received his first international call-up last week. Varney , who qualifies for Italy through his mother, tested negative in his most recent test with his club Gloucester before making the trip to Rome.

And with George North at outside centre, and Josh Adams and Louis Rees-Zammit on the wings, Italy may have enough tough day in west Wales.

"It is really important to have quick ruck ball because then you play against teams that are on the back foot with a disorganised defensive line," said Jones.

"The ideal vision is we have to play with speed. It's as simple as that. We have got to move ball quickly and identify where the space is on the pitch."

North, best known as a winger , will be making just his sixth Test start in midfield after missing the matches against Georgia or England.

Meanwhile Bristol Bears fly-half Callum Sheedy has another chance to impress for Wales in Jones' old No. 10 shirt.

Jones said he was "excited" by North's move into midfield, saying: "His passing mechanics are good, and he is comfortable passing close to people. We also know he is comfortable in the collision side of things. It won't be an issue for him.

"Callum has been excellent...He is comfortable on the ball."

With defences dominant during the competition and many games featuring protracted tactical kicking, fears have been expressed that modern international rugby is becoming an ever-more dull spectacle.

But amid calls for wholesale rule changes, Jones said: "I understand the frustration that is out there.

"Ultimately, there are 15 people that are trying to shut you down and stop you playing and take your space and time away.

"We have got to make sure we counteract that. That's our job as attack coaches, isn't it?"


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