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Page last updated at 07:18 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 08:18 UK

Hooker Owens stakes Wales claim

Ken Owens
Robert Jones says Owens' line-out throwing has been exceptional

Ex-Wales scrum-half Robert Jones says Scarlets hooker Ken Owens is a serious contender for a Test debut in November.

Owens, 22, was man-of-the-match in his side's 22-20 Magners League defeat by Munster at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

Jones told Scrum V: "His line-out throwing has been exceptional. He's hit his targets constantly.

"Just one thing about Ken Owens - he's missed just one line-out in three games. I think it's something like 47 out of 48."

Wales take on New Zealand, Samoa, Argentina and Australia in their November Tests and Owens would face strong competition for the number two jersey.

British and Irish Lions hooker Matthew Rees is expected to return to action for the Scarlets this week.


And he must also overhaul Ospreys Richard Hibbard and Huw Bennett in Wales coach Warren Gatland's pecking order.

But Jones says Owens has what it takes to make his mark.

"When you consider Wales have struggled really in terms of their line-out play, this guy is putting his hand up, I think, for inclusion in the autumn internationals," said ex-Scarlets backs coach Jones.

"There's Matthew Rees down there, there's Hibbard, of course and Bennett, but Ken Owens' current form deserves an opportunity."

Jones says Owens' efforts have helped pep up the Scarlets' performances, in contrast to their neighbours and rivals the Ospreys, who were booed off again on Friday after losing to Leinster at Liberty Stadium.

On Saturday the Scarlets came within a whisker of beating Munster, falling to a late Denis Hurley try and Jeremy Manning conversion.

Jones said of events at Parc y Scarlets: "It was fantastic, a great occasion and they're playing with real purpose at the moment.

"In contrast to the Ospreys it's the quality and the speed of delivery of the ball and also, I have to say, the form of ken Owens at hooker - absolutely outstanding.

"He's come into the senior game with a reputation for his ball-carrying - he's big, he's strong, he's quick."

Highlights: Scarlets 20-22 Munster

Highlights - Scarlets 20-22 Munster

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see also
Scarlets 'gutted' by loss - Jones
20 Sep 09 |  Welsh
Davies admits to gut-wrenching loss
19 Sep 09 |  Rugby Union
Scarlets 20-22 Munster
19 Sep 09 |  Welsh
Magners Celtic League 2009/10
14 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
RaboDirect Pro12 table
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Regional rugby archive
07 Jul 03 |  Welsh
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport NI coverage
03 Jul 08 |  Northern Ireland
BBC Scotland programme guide
26 Jul 09 |  Scotland
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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