Six Nations 2013: Meet Wales coach Rob Howley's new boys

 

RBS SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: WALES V IRELAND

  • Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
  • Date: Saturday 2 February
  • Kick-off: 13:30 GMT

Coverage: Watch live on BBC One Wales, BBC One HD, Red Button and online; listen on BBC Radio Wales & online and BBC Radio Cymru; live text commentary on BBC Sport website; watch again on BBC iPlayer

Wales go into the 2013 Six Nations with six players hoping to make their debuts for the reigning champions.

With the national squad bedevilled by injury problems, three of the new names - Andrew Coombs, James King and Olly Kohn - could figure in the second-row.

And only one of the uncapped half dozen is a back - Ospreys wing Eli Walker - while Cardiff Blues provide back-row men Josh Navidi and Andries Pretorius.

Andrew Coombs

Andrew Coombs

Born: 27 October, 1984, Merthyr Tydfil

Position: Lock/back-row

Height/weight: 6ft 4in/17st 2lb

Current team: Newport Gwent Dragons

Former teams: Newport, Pontypool, Nelson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Coombs_A

Little-known fact: Speaks Welsh

Coombs is the latest in a line of Welsh internationals recently developed by Newport Gwent Dragons.

Like retired Wales hooker Lloyd Burns, Coombs is something of a late developer, having been a scaffolder before the Dragons signed him ahead of the 2010-11 season.

Coombs has fought back from being dropped from the Dragons' plans in 2007 to return after a successful stint at feeder club Newport RFC.

James King

James King

Born: 24 July, 1990, Wadonga, Victoria, Australia

Position: Lock

Height/weight: 6ft 4in/16st 7lb

Current team: Ospreys

Former teams: Swansea

Twitter: https://twitter.com/James_d_king

Little-known fact: Almost lost an ear playing for the Ospreys

King has impressed for the Ospreys this season with a series of energetic, forceful displays having taken his chance at regional level amid an injury crisis in the second-row.

Fellow Ospreys Ian Evans (knee) and Alun Wyn Jones (shoulder) are expected to return at some point in the Six Nations.

But their absences could provide King with the chance to prove his value in the Test arena.

Olly Kohn

Olly Kohn

Born: 19 March, 1981, Bristol

Position: Lock

Height/weight: 6ft 7in/21st 10lb

Current team: Harlequins

Former teams: Bristol

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OllyKohn1

Little-known fact: The Kohn side of his family is from Czechoslovakia.

The Bristol-born lock could become part of a King-Kohn lock partnership amid Wales' injury problems.

At 31, Kohn declared his allegiance to Wales and then became a late call-up to the squad.

He played alongside Wales' most-capped lock Gareth Llewellyn at Bristol and has played his part in Harlequins' rise to become English club champions and Heineken Cup quarter-finalists.

Josh Navidi

Josh Navidi

Born: 30 December, 1990, Bridgend

Position: Flanker

Height/weight: 6ft 1in, 14st 13lb

Former teams: Cardiff, Glamorgan Wanderers

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jnavidi

Little-known fact: Aged 16, he went to St Bedes College in Christchurch, New Zealand to study accountancy and PE

With Wales captain Sam Warburton for a rival and team-mate in the Cardiff Blues back-row, Navidi could have been forgiven for believing his international ambitions were unlikely to be fulfilled.

However, having shone despite some poor Blues displays this term, Navidi finds himself in the Six Nations mix alongside Warburton.

Like Wales coach Robert Howley, Navidi was a pupil at Brynteg School, Bridgend,  which Dr Jack Matthews, JPR Williams, Gavin Henson, Nicole Cooke, Mike Hall and Dafydd James also attended.

Andries Pretorius

Andries Pretorius

Born: 26 September, 1985, Nelspruit, South Africa

Position: Number eight

Height/weight: 6ft 4in/17st 4lb

Former teams: Gloucester Academy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndriesPret

Little-known fact: His wife, Rosie, is a Welsh international netball player

South African-born Pretorius has had to bide his time while serving a three-year residency period before Wales came calling.

He arrived in the Welsh capital via Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, which has strong links with Aviva Premiership club Gloucester.

Wales coach Howley hopes Pretorius can put pressure on their Tongan-born star Toby Faletau and add strength in depth to the squad in the process.

Eli Walker

Eli Walker

Born: 28, March 1992, Swansea

Position: Wing

Height/weight: 6ft/13st 1lb

Former teams: Swansea

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EliWalker24

Little-known fact: Eli is the cousin of Swansea footballer Jazz Richards, who is on loan at Crystal Palace

Dubbed "the new Shane Williams" by former Wales captain and number eight Scott Quinnell, Walker has a lot to live up to.

The 20-year-old has searing pace and is also elusive, marking him out as a threat to any defence.

But he goes into the tournament with a hamstring strain and, if he overcomes that hurdle, then faces the challenge posed by giant Wales wing pair George North and Alex Cuthbert.