Ball out to prove a point

Date published: January 3 2017

Scarlets lock Jake Ball is using his performances for the region to show he belongs in a Wales shirt, says head coach Wayne Pivac.

Ball picked up a rib injury last year which meant he only managed to make one appearence, off the bench, for Wales in November.

The lock has been in fine form for Scarlets and had another standout performance in their 15-10 win over Cardiff Blues on New Year's Day, which was attended by Wales interim coach Rob Howley who watched from the stands.

"He's very keen to make a mark and over the past few weeks he's done that against some quality opposition," Pivac told the BBC.

"I'm very pleased for Jake. He is a man on a mission. He picked up the injury just before the autumn series and that slowed him down and he only got the one opportunity off the bench.

"I thought he was colossal (against Cardiff Blues) with his carries and just his work rate over the 80 minutes."

Howley is due to name his 2017 Six Nations squad later this month with Wales kicking off their campaign against Italy on February 5.

Ball has played 21 times for Wales but has not started since the 2015 Rugby World Cup and faces fierce competition in the second-row from Alun Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris and Bradley Davies.

His one appearance in the autumn came against Japan, when Wales needed a late drop-goal to clinch a 33-30 win in Cardiff.