Six Nations 2021: Hooker Ken Owens hopes Wales can lift nation in lockdown

Scrum V's 2021 Six Nations predictions
Six Nations 2021: Wales v Ireland
Date: Sunday, 7 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC iPlayer & Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Sport website and app, S4C. Highlights, Scrum V, BBC Two Wales from 19:00 GMT on Sunday

Ken Owens hopes Wales can help lift the nation during the 2021 Six Nations that will start during a Covid-19 lockdown.

Wales begin their campaign against Ireland on 7 February in Cardiff with the match played in front of an empty Principality Stadium.

Owens believes the side have a chance to help the nation in Covid-19 times.

"We have spoken about that and Alun Wyn Jones mentioned it at the start of the week, it's an opportunity to put smiles on faces," said Owens.

"Ever since I have been involved, you can feel the nation lift when you are walking down the street on the Sunday or Monday after a Six Nations result or Autumn international.

"It gives the nation a huge lift and everybody gets behind it. It can give people an opportunity because it gives something else to talk about especially in this time.

"We do feel that pressure and it is something we can enjoy because of what the red shirt and national team means to the people of Wales. It is something we don't take lightly.

"We have spoken about it and the opportunity to entertain the nation and give them something to get behind and support in this tough world we are living in at the moment."

Hooker Ken Owens has played 77 internationals for Wales and two tests for the British and Irish Lions
Hooker Ken Owens has played 77 internationals for Wales and two Tests for the British and Irish Lions

Owens, 34, missed the autumn campaign with a shoulder injury. Wales finished fifth in last year's Six Nations while the side only won three competitive matches out of 10 in Pivac's first full year in charge.

"The coaching staff have had a good review of the autumn and have seen what worked and what didn't work," Owens told the Rugby Weekly podcast.

"The mindset is still going to be try and play rugby and shift the ball around, but I think where we got caught out on a couple of occasions was not winning the gainline during the autumn and the Six Nations last year.

"There is going to be a huge focus on us being pragmatic in the way we play, trying to play in the right areas of the field while having a positive mindset as well.

"It will come down to the battle of the gain line in attack and defence and the contact area. If you get the speed of ball it gives you a chance to play that expansive game."

Wales begin against Ireland with Owens knowing victory can inspire their campaign.

"It's a huge game for us," said Owens.

"I have played in a lot of Six Nations now and there is only once I can remember losing the first game and still managing to build momentum and finish on a positive. That was in 2013.

"Getting that first win changes the mindset of the supporters because in Wales I don't think a lot of people are expecting much.

"We are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves as a squad and if we can get that win on Sunday, it sets us up.

"Building that momentum is important and it can spiral from there."

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