[Carmarthen Journal] Wales are set to call on Michael Owen to help fire them to success over Italy in Rome on Saturday.
The 6ft 5in Pontypridd youngster is poised to come in for
Llanelli's Dafydd Jones as Steve Hansen seeks to improve Wales's
line-out and ball-carrying options.
Wales had the worst line-out in the Six Nations Championship last term, winning just 67 per cent on their own throw. Owen's inclusion is seen as a step in the direction of improving matters.
He became the country's Millennium Man last summer when he had the honour of being the 1,000th player to pull on the red jersey in a senior international. But Hansen gave him only one start in the autumn as Jones took his chance.
With Scott Quinnell having retired from Test rugby, there is a vacancy in the Wales back row and Owen now seems likely to get his chance to show he can fill it.
He is expected to figure alongside two British Lions in Martyn Williams and Colin Charvis.
In all, Wales are primed to make six changes from the side that lost 43-17 to New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium in November.
Jamie Robinson, Sonny Parker, Stephen Jones and Robin McBryde all miss out because of injuries.
They are expected to be replaced by Tom Shanklin, Leigh Davies, Iestyn Harris and Mefin Davies, respectively.
The other alteration sees Steve Williams come in for Gareth Llewellyn at lock.
It is tough on Llewellyn, who needs just one cap to go joint second with Ieuan Evans in Wales's all-time appearance table.
Mark Taylor had been fancied to partner Shanklin in midfield but the selectors have instead opted for the specialist No. 12 skills of Leigh Davies.
Arguably the in-form centre in the country this term, Llanelli's captain returns to a Wales line-up for the first time in 16 months and has his first game under Hansen.
The New Zealander will be looking to Davies to exert the kind of influence he has on the Llanelli midfield, while the onus will be on Harris to show he has the reliability to go with his undoubted game-breaking qualities.
Mefin Davies gets his first Six Nations start.