Dragons captain Andrew Coombs relishing battle with top Ospreys locks
ANDREW Coombs has never been one for making up the numbers with Wales - and the Newport Gwent Dragons captain intends to show that against his international teammates tomorrow evening.
The 28-year-old lock will go up against Lions stars Alun Wyn Jones and Ian Evans when he leads his region out against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.
A big derby performance against Cardiff Blues earned him a spot in the Six Nations and another impressive showing in the September success against the Scarlets would have impressed Wales Warren Gatland.
The Wales boss has included the Coombs in his squad for the Tests against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia along with Jones, Evans, former Dragons skipper Luke Charteris and captain of the summer tour to Japan Bradley Davies.
Many pundits would put him below his more experienced rivals in the pecking order – but write off Coombs at your peril.
“A big ambition of mine when I came back from Japan was to make sure I was in the squad for the autumn,” said Coombs, who has won six caps.
“I got into the Six Nations squad because there were a lot of injuries and I wanted everybody to be fit this time so that I got in on merit.
“It’s huge for me to be included, I am glad I achieved such a big goal – but the hard work starts now.
“I’ve got two weeks to go in to camp, impress and get myself into that matchday squad.
“Going into the Six Nations there were a lot of quality players and I managed to get in, hopefully I will be able to do the same.”
A strong performance against the Ospreys – and Jones and Evans – would do his case no harm but Coombs is quick to state that it’s not all about him.
The Dragons head into the game on the back of a 26-10 Amlin Challenge Cup loss in Bath, a blot on a promising start to the season.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me to possibly play against the two leading second rows in Wales but I’ve got a job to do as Dragons captain and can’t allow it to become a personal battle,” he said.
“We’ve been down this week after Bath but it’s been a fantastic start to season for us – we’re sixth in the league and the second-placed Welsh team.
“The Ospreys are going to be hurting after losing their last Pro12 game against Ulster and suffering two in the Heineken Cup against Leinster and Northampton.
“It’s going to be a very difficult evening for us but I am sure we can get the result if we start like we did in the derby win against the Scarlets – full of confidence and with ambition to run the ball.
“We’ve got to go there and challenge them.”
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