Wales recall Biggar, Halfpenny, Williams, but not Faletau for Ireland clash

Thursday, 22 Feb, 2018

Welsh hooker Ken Owens has delivered strident backing for coach Warren Gatland saying the Kiwi hasn't been given the respect he deserves around world rugby.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland on Tuesday named British and Irish Lions trio Dan Biggar, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny in his starting line-up for the weekend's Six Nations clash against Ireland.

Only New Zealand World Cup victor Graham Henry has overseen more games - 103 - for one country, with Gatland set to pass that mark when Wales tour Argentina this summer.

"I don't think England will be getting too far ahead of themselves either, they have to go to Scotland and win, to France and win, two hard away games".

Gatland knows all about the threat posed by the half-back pairing, who were in his starting line-up for two of the three British and Irish Lions Tests in New Zealand a year ago.

"We've got to make sure we don't give Ireland an opportunity to kick to the sidelines by giving away penalties and execute their driving lineout, which is pretty effective, and allow Johnny Sexton to keep their scoreboard ticking over with three points". It's a huge credit to him and we've always got on well and had that mutual respect even before the Lions tour.

"There's a real element of familiarity amongst the two sides as well which obviously contributes to them knowing us a bit better and the fact that we seem to play each other a lot as clubs and country every year too".

Five killed in church shooting in Russian region of Dagestan
Russian President Vladimir Putin fired, three months ago, head of Dagestan Ramazan Abdulatipov and appointed Vladimir Vasilyev. A fifth woman died of her injuries in hospital, health ministry spokeswoman Zalina Mourtazalieva told TASS news agency.

'Do not test Israel's resolve,' Netanyahu warns Iran at security conference
It is yours, "he blurted out to Iranian Foreign minister, Javad Zarif, also present at Munich Conference". He also accused Israel's top ally, the USA , of using the conference to "revive hysteria" against Iran.

Grocery retailer Albertsons to acquire Rite Aid drug stores
Citi served as exclusive financial advisor to Rite Aid , while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP acted as legal advisor. Net leverage at the new Albertsons will start at 3.8 times Ebitda, which it plans to reduce to 2.75 within three years.

"He has been my only coach in global rugby".

Owens said: "He knows how to get the best out of players". It is a headache for the coaches I am sure but is a good thing for us.

"He is a very good man manager". He puts a massive emphasis on family coming first and he takes all the pressure off you. "If everything is fine off the field, then all you have to worry about is the rugby, and he's great at that".

Gareth Davies says Wales are confident they can secure a bonus-point win against Ireland on Saturday after the return of some of their key players.

"I think Brian O'Driscoll's wife had given birth that morning, so we caught him on a quiet day!" "This weekend is about the performance and the result in a must-win game for us".

This will be Gatland's 100th game in charge of Wales, but he played this down.