- Will Rowlands trained with Wales on Monday after missing Scotland defeat
- He is firmly in contention to feature against the country of his birth on Saturday
- Rowlands was born in Hammersmith but qualifies for Wales through his father
Wales look set to be boosted by the return of Will Rowlands for their meeting with England at Twickenham after the Racing 92 lock joined up with Warren Gatland’s squad.
Rowlands, 32, has 29 caps and is a first-choice starter for Wales when available.
He has been an international regular since his Test debut in 2020 and briefly captained Gatland’s side at last year’s World Cup.
But the former Wasps man missed Wales’ thrilling 27-26 Six Nations defeat by Scotland in Cardiff last Saturday as he hadn’t yet met up with Gatland’s squad.
‘Will hasn’t come into the squad yet. His wife had a baby a couple of weeks ago in France and unfortunately there were some complications,’ Gatland said last week.
Wales have been boosted by the return of Will Rowlands for Saturday’s clash with England
‘So the message to him has been stay home and be with your family. We always talk about how important that is and he’ll turn up when he’s ready.’
Rowlands trained with Wales on Monday after being given the first week of the 2024 tournament off. He is firmly in contention to feature against the country of his birth this weekend. Rowlands was born in Hammersmith but qualifies for Wales through his father.
He is a part of a star-studded Racing 92 squad which already contains South Africa’s double World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi and England tyro Henry Arundell.
From next season, Rowlands will also be a team-mate of former England captain Owen Farrell and his place in Stuart Lancaster’s side is a reflection of his undoubted quality.
His expected availability for England is an undoubted boost for Gatland who will now face a tough choice of who to start as his lock pair out of Dafydd Jenkins, Adam Beard and Rowlands.
Jenkins, 21, is Wales’ captain for this Six Nations which means if Gatland deems Rowlands ready to start at Twickenham, it would likely be Beard who drops to the bench.
Adam Beard could drop to the bench to make way for return of Rowlands at Twickenham
Wales are set to face Steve Borthwick’s England – who beat Italy in round one – without a specialist fly-half after Sam Costelow suffered a head injury in the loss to Scotland.
If he doesn’t recover, Scarlets utility back Ioan Lloyd is favourite to come in at No 10 with Cai Evans – another who can play several positions – likely to come on to the bench.
Lloyd deputised well for Costelow against Scotland in what was only his third cap but he is part of an inexperienced Wales squad for this Six Nations which has an average age of just 25.
Gatland is also set to recall Test centurion George North for England. North missed the Scotland game due to a lack of training minutes following a shoulder injury but is now back fit.