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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 17:46 GMT
Cockbain Q&A
Brent Cockbain
Brent Cockbain
Wales lock

Ospreys and Lions second-row Brent Cockbain is in Wales' Six Nations squad.

He took time out from preparations on Thursday to answer some of your questions.


How disappointing was it to miss out on selection against Ireland to Ian Gough and when did you find out?
Dave Dominguez, 29, Mumbles

I've been suffering with a bit of a dead leg and missed a few training sessions earlier in the week, so [coach] Gareth Jenkins told me I wouldn't be picked.

Ian played very well in the autumn internationals - you have to respect the performances he put in and it's not easy to force your way back into a team.

Glad to see you're back after your nasty injury last year. My question is, can the Welsh pack be aggressive enough to ensure parity with the other nations, thus giving our backs sufficient ball to outclass the opposition?
David Owens, 28, Reading

That's a very good question and it's the beauty of the Six Nations - each opposition pack brings something different to the table.

The Irish drive very well, the French bring a massive scrum, the English carry so effectively...

But we definitely have the pack to match them all. The style has changed a little under our new coaches and we're looking to be a bit more direct.

And if we can get on the front foot we have backs of the quality to punish anybody.

As a second row how important is it in the modern game for the number eight to impart maximum shove-power at the scrum, and who of the Welsh eights is best at scrummaging?
Bill Wadrup, 61, Bedfordshire

We're more concerned about the ball control of the number eight than the weight of push coming in - some locks actually prefer it if there's no shove from behind as it can disrupt the scrummaging technique.

That's especially true under the new scrummaging laws, the push coming from the back row makes little difference.

The likes of Alix Popham and Ryan Jones will put in a bit of a shove, but it will be targeted where we want it, whether we want to attack the tight-head or loose-head side.

Brent, I remember seeing on TV some time ago that you have an allotment, do you have any tips for fitting the upcoming sowing season which clashes horrendously with the Six Nations? Any advice would be greatly received.
George, 27, Maidenhead

Get a greenhouse in your back garden to kick-start your vegetables before you harden them out in the allotment.

That also means that you can watch the games on your TV and nip out at half-time to water them.

What is the atmosphere like in the camp the night before a big game, and do some of the players have any unusual night-before rituals?
Mark Thomas, 32, Torfaen

Well, some of the outside backs like to apply moisturiser, fake tan and have their legs shaved... I'm not just thinking of Gavin [Henson], there are quite a few!

I think that Ryan Jones also likes to have a bit of a shave and a moisturise, but he's about the only forward.

There's always such a positive attitude in the camp, though. The build-up goes on for so long and you know you're ready.

Who is the toughest Six Nations player you have ever come across? And are you looking forward to playing against them?
Cameron Green, 13, Ystradowen

I'm trying to think... Malcolm O'Kelly in his time was pretty tough, but then all the Ireland second rows are always very good, including the current bunch.

There was Martin Johnson, of course, but at lock you're only ever competing one-on-one at the line-out, so it's about the collective toughness of a team.

Are you planing to use any of your new found "tap-dancing" skills in the Six Nations - half-time show, perhaps?!
Christian Davies, 35, Cardiff

It's not something I'm going to dwell upon other than to say that there are not too many Welsh internationals who get to star before a packed Millennium Centre in a tap-dancing show!

It was a great experience - and I'd even say that the training helped me in my footwork before contact in a game.

What are the players' feelings about the training and coaching within the camp, and are you confident of emulating 2005?
Mike Jones, 24, Hitchin, Herts

We are a very good side and we've prepared very well, but competition in the tournament is so great and there are so many things that you can't control - the bounce of the ball, a referee's decision...

I don't think you can ever be confident of winning a Grand Slam - 2005 was a very special occasion, but there were so many occasions where that could have gone wrong.

Can Wales adapt to a different game plan on the pitch, if the "Welsh way" is unsucessful?
Viki, 30, New Zealand

I think we've got a few strings to our bow.

We've got an excellent set of half-backs who can play the quick tap-and-go style, or adopt a more structured approach and kick it to the corners.

I do feel that we're at our most potent when we look to attack and make quick breaks.

We're not the complete team yet - but by the World Cup we'll be flying.
















 

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