Wales acting head coach Rob Howley has revealed he will be keeping a close eye on Ospreys duo Dan Baker and James King with the pair set to battle it out for the country’s No.8 jersey.
Both players line up alongside Justin Tipuric and Dan Lydiate for the Welsh region, and could challenge for a place in the back row for Wales with Taulupe Faletau set to miss the start of next month’s autumn internationals.
Baker, who earned two caps for Wales in 2013, usually plays as a No.8 in the Guinness PRO12 while King has proven his versatility for both club and country with appearances across the back-row and at lock.
And while Howley has suggested he favours choosing a natural No.8 to replace Faletau – he insists he will approach selection with an open mind, with skipper Sam Warburton another contender to shift across.
“We have been impressed with Dan Baker this season,” said Howley. “James King has played at eight before he did in New Zealand against the Chiefs and we have also got Ross Moriarty who can step up. There are choices and there will be selection dilemmas.
“When you lose someone who has been there for a long time (Faletau), do you pick a player whose best position is seven but can play eight? Or do you just back someone who has been playing eight for their region and say you are the best eight behind Toby, go out and show what you can do in international rugby?
“I am a big believer in that, but a lot depends on how they do in training over the next ten days.”
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