Wales star makes ‘huge statement’

Andy Powell is making a ‘huge statement’ with London Wasps according to the English club’s director of rugby Tony Hanks.

Powell starred for the Adams Park outfit in Sunday’s convincing 33-16 win over Newcastle as Wasps moved into a Play-Off place in the Aviva Premiership.

The 29-year-old, who won his 16th Welsh cap as a replacement in November’s clash with New Zealand, crossed the Severn Bridge in the summer and has now become a key figure at the former English and European Champions.

“Ultimately it is about putting in performances on the pitch and Powell made a huge statement with his ball carrying,” said Hanks.

“He is getting used to the way we play and he is quickly becoming a senior player and a leader in our group.

“There is no better way to lead than to carry like he did here. Most of the things that were good about our game were kicked off by Powell.”

After a slow start in Wycombe, Hanks has seen Powell buy into the Wasps way of life.

And with his club form really starting to catch the eye, Hanks believes his star man is well placed to play for Wales if he continues to concentrate on performing week in, week out for Wasps.

Powell himself will hope more standout performances like he gave at the weekend will earn him a place in Warren Gatland’s Six Nations squad ahead of the tournament opener against England at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, February 4.

The former Cardiff Blues back rower made his international bow against the Springboks in November 2008 before touring South Africa with the Lions the following summer and Hanks knows his No8 would love to add to his Wales tally.

“He is tailor-made to be a Wasp. He is a little bit different, he is a character and the guys love him,” added Hanks.

“When he is happy he plays well.He is a fantastic ball carrier and he is just really honest and you see that with the way he plays.

“We probably put more emphasis on the things he does well and he can carry a rugby ball and he brings that physicality to his defence.

“The guy is passionate about playing for his country but he doesn’t talk about that. He wants to play well for the club and he really wears his heart on his sleeve.”

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