These are the rugby headlines for Wednesday night, December 20.

Williams reaches number 10

Wales legend Shane Williams has weighed in on the Welsh midfield debate and made a surprise decision for a 10th starting jersey ahead of the Six Nations.

Warren Gatland has identified the outside half as an area where Wales need to find more depth after Dan Biggar retired from international rugby and Gareth Anscombe moved to Japan after the World Cup. Although Sam Costelow was considered Biggar’s long-term successor, he is currently sidelined with injury and the place remains very interesting.

There is no shortage of candidates, however, with Ioan Lloyd impressing for Scarlets, Callum Sheedy receiving plaudits for his performances for Bristol Bears and Jarrod Evans remaining eligible for Wales despite joining Harlequins and making less than 25 appearances.

However, when asked who he would pick at number 10 now, Williams opted for a completely different option, choosing Ospreys’ Owen Williams as the team’s starting centre-back.

“If the Six Nations starts tomorrow and Costelow isn’t there, I would like to go with someone who has experience and has also played recently,” he said. “Maybe it was someone like Owen Williams. He has a lot of experience, he has played matches at international level. But I was also very impressed with Ioan Lloyd at Scarlets.

“I haven’t seen much of Callum Sheedy, but he’s obviously full of praise for Bristol at the moment. But to be honest, Lloyd only started because Costelow is injured. I think he’s been great, but do I think he’s ready for international rugby at 10? Maybe not yet. So I think you would probably have to go with Owen Williams, someone with that experience, of course.”

The legendary winger also chose his three starting defenders, opting to move Louis Rees-Zammit to full-back and switch Mason Grady from center to winger.

“[Rees-Zammit] It’s good that he managed to take 15th place. “He has great awareness and good feet,” Williams said.

“You’ve got guys like Josh Adams, maybe on a wing, and Mason Grady as well. I think he’s a winger, a consistent winger and I like watching him. I think he’s learning his craft a little bit more as we go along. That’s a good three! “We have more experience than we really appreciate at this point.”

“But in Welsh rugby a lot can happen,” he added. “Especially at Christmas. I hope no one gets hurt, but I think Warren Gatland has decided who will be in this team. We’re going to see a lot of new faces and that’s what the evolution of the national team is all about. .

Shane Williams is part of the Viaplay team live-streaming all four BKT United Rugby Championship Welsh derbies during the festive rugby season. Join the Viaplay team of Shane Williams, Philippa Tuttiette, Alex Cuthbert, Ross Harris and Martin Gillingham for Christmas Day rugby, with double Welsh derby dates on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Rugby fans can follow all URC matches live on the Viaplay streaming service and on Viaplay Sports 1 and Viaplay Sports 2. Visit for more information. Viaplay is available on the Viaplay streaming service, Sky, Virgin TV, Amazon Prime, Samsung and Roku.

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Gito returned to the game at age 41

Australian legend Matt Guiteau has made an impressive return to professional rugby at the age of 41.

The 103-cap Wallaby announced his retirement earlier this year, joking he was “done with the game and contracts”, but made a surprise U-turn by signing with the San Diego Legion for the 2024 rugby league season. The former Toulon star previously represented MLR LA Giltinis before hanging up his boots in February.

Confirming the move, Guiteau said he was “looking forward to the challenge ahead” before adding: “This is definitely, definitely my last season… my wife made me promise.”

San Diego coach Danny Lee said in a statement Wednesday that the club is “one month away from securing Matt’s services for next season.”

“He is a world-class player who will bring an incredible wealth of knowledge, competitiveness and desire to succeed that will undoubtedly rub off on the entire team,” Lee added.

The couple could lose the battle in Wales

Scottish duo Jawan Sebastian and Ollie Smith will miss the start of the Six Nations after both suffered injuries while on duty at the club.
Prop Sebastian injured his knee in Edinburgh’s 34-21 Challenge Cup win against the Castros on Saturday and manager Sean Everitt confirmed he would be sidelined for “six to eight weeks”.
The 29-year-old was expected to challenge Zander Fegerson for a place in next year’s Championship, but this defeat means he will not return to action until early February.
Gregor Townsend’s side will face Wales in the opening match of the Six Nations in Cardiff on February 3.

Townsend will also be without winger Smith, who will be out for several months after injuring his knee in the Warriors’ Champions Cup victory over Bayonne last week. The club is awaiting the results of the tests, but appears concerned about the severity of the injury.

England reinforced the Six Nations

England have been given a boost ahead of the Six Nations with the news that Ben Earl could return to action before the end of the year.

The number 8, who was man of the match for Steve Borthwick’s team at this year’s World Cup, underwent “minor knee surgery” after suffering the injury in the warm-up ahead of Saracens’ clash with Harlequins in October, leading to fears he could be sidelined in January and faces a race to reach full fitness ahead of the Six Nations.

But speaking to the media on Tuesday, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall gave a much more positive update on the 25-year-old’s condition, saying he could return for his final match in 2023.

“He is doing well, has been running consistently last week and this week and should be training with us late this week or at worst early next week after Christmas,” McCall said. “He has the opportunity to play in the game against Newcastle (December 30),” McCall said.

“Our medical team has done a great job, our performance team has done a good job and Ben has been working hard, rehabbing hard and ahead of schedule. “But we’re not taking any risks with him, so if he’s not suitable for Newcastle we’ll sign him within a week.”

The star was suspended for being a “punching” opponent

By the PA Sport team

Northampton’s Tom James has been banned for three matches for tackling Ben White in the Champions Cup match against Toulouse.

The 30-year-old scrum-half overtook White in the 70th minute of the Saints’ 22-19 victory last Friday.

James could have been banned for six weeks for the offence, but the independent disciplinary committee relaxed the ban after the player “accepted the allegations and his clear disciplinary record”.

James, who joined the Saints from Doncaster Knights in 2020, will be eligible to play again on January 8, meaning he will miss games against Gloucester, Northampton and Exeter.