Bearded Ball living Wales dream

Date published: March 8 2014

Jake Ball's name might not be famous just yet, but his beard has certainly caught the eye as the Wales lock prepares to face England.

Jake Ball's name might not be famous just yet, but his beard has certainly caught the eye as the Wales lock prepares to face England.

The 22-year-old Scarlets lock stepped in for Alun Wyn Jones against France and impressed in the 27-6 win.

Now replacing the injured Luke Charteris against England, Ball revealed the backstory behind his impressive facial hair ahead of running out at Twickenham – not far up the road from where he was born in Berkshire.

“I will be shaving it off at the end of the season for the Make A Wish Foundation. I grew it for charity, and I said I would grow it for a season,” said Ball.

“I last shaved in July, so it's been a while. It has brought me some luck, so I might grow a beard a year, but I am not sure the fiancée will be happy with that!”

Meanwhile, Ball is unnerved by stepping into the starting role, admitting that playing Test rugby was a dream come true. The young lock has come a long way since playing cricket for Western Australia U19s.

“I am just going to get out there and do what I do best,” added Ball.

“I just get stuck in and play my natural game. I like to hit my breakdowns and do the basics well.

“Luke [Charteris] copped the knock quite early in the week, so I was training in that starting role anyway. I think even when you are on the bench, you approach it as if you are going to start.

“Against France, it was quite a last-minute thing, which was quite nice to be honest. It didn't give me a lot of time to think about it – I could just get out there and play.

“I didn't know what I was running out into (at the Millennium Stadium). I didn't expect the lights to be off, the fireworks and everything else. It all just flashed by really quickly.

“It was a case of controlling the emotions through the anthems. It's a dream, isn't it, to play international rugby.”

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