Planet Rugby



Bearded Ball living Wales dream

08th March 2014 07:18



Composed: Jake Ball

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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